Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Old Trafford Waves Goodbye to True Great

Tuesday 9th November 2010 marks a sad day for Manchester United Football Club. History will remember the day when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United reserve team manager and former goal scoring sensation, announced he was to end his 14 year association with the Lancashire club.

The Manchester United favourite has opted to fill the vacant post at former Norwegian club Molde FK, where the Norwegian plied his trade before signing for Manchester United. Solskjaer will see out the remainder of the year with United as Reserve team manager, but will take up his new post in his homeland, when the Norwegian league starts in January 2011.

As a player, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was a rare breed. Without possessing rapid pace, Solskjaer still proved prolific in front of goal. Whilst in competition with the likes of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Louis Saha and the free-scoring Ruud Van Nistelrooy, the popular Norwegian was arguably United's most natural finisher.

Solskjaer received cult status among the United faithful during his time at Old Trafford, and the reputation of the baby faced assassin continued to grow as Solskjaer quickly adapted to the English game. When United fans were moaning about missing out on Alan Shearer, who opted for Newcastle United instead, Solskjaer soon became a crucial alternative.

Known for his natural ability to finish and professional attitude, the man who famously wore the number 20 shirt will no doubt return fond memories among United purists. As an impact substitute or a starter in the United line up, Solskjaer always wore a smile on his face and played the game with a distinct appetite to succeed and improve.

Throughout his time in England, Solskjaer reached amazing heights with United, renowned most notably for his injury time winner at the Nou Camp in 1999. However, Solskjaer's later United career was dogged by injuries and the Norwegian reluctantly but gracefully decided to hang up his boots at the age of 33 in 2007.

During his tenure at Old Trafford, Solskjaer recorded an impressive goal tally of 91 goals in just over 200 appearances. In terms of silverware, Solskjaer leaves England behind with six Premier League titles, two FA Cup winners medals, a Champions League title, Intercontinental Cup win and three Community Shield winners medals to his name.

Not bad for a relatively unknown £1.5 million coup by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in 1996. Today, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is arguably one of the most popular players to wear the red of United, and deservedly so!

So keen was Sir Alex Ferguson to keep him around after his retirement, the Scotsman appointed Solskjaer as a coach in 2007 and within a year, following a backroom reshuffle, Solskjaer was appointed Reserve team manager.

At the helm of the United reserves, Solskjaer continued to show the same promise he was gifted as a player. So recognised Solskjaer has become, that he will be called home to take on his first taste of first team management in the New Year.

United's loss is Molde's gain, for Solskjaer's professionalism and patience is second to none, and with Sir Alex Ferguson as his mentor, who would bet against the United great from becoming one of the most respected managers in the game.

Whilst it is difficult to see an iconic figure like Solskjaer leave Old Trafford, it's good news for the Norwegian, who is set to take charge of the club where his journey in football began. Hopefully Molde FK will gift Solskjaer the opportunity to become a fine manager, and hopefully his ties to the English game and United in particular, are not lost.

No comments:

Post a Comment