What Are The Real Reasons Behind Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Appointment As Manchester United Manager?

Posted: September 19, 2020 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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Why was Ole Gunnar Solskjær appointed as Manchester United manager? We’re not talking about when he got the job permanently because everybody knows that was a knee-jerk reaction to a few decent results. Even then the appointment was announced far too early and should have been kept under wraps until the end of the season. No, we mean whose idea was it to bring him back in the first place?

Let’s face it, it was a move which blindsided the vast majority of Manchester United supporters and one which probably came as a big surprise to Solskjær himself.

After all, the club had just sacked a serial winner in José Mourinho despite him delivering two major trophies and a minor one in his short time at the club. Prior to that they had sacked Louis van Gaal almost immediately after he had won the FA Cup and, the previous season, had qualified for the Champion’s League by finishing 4th.

So having sacked these two giants of the game, what in the world possessed a man from Chelmsford, who is by trade an accountant/investment banker, with absolutely no idea about football in general and Manchester United in particular, to even consider Ole Gunnar Solksjær for the manager’s job.

The previous two incumbents both had a typical “United” cv, both had managed big clubs in Europe, both had won trophies and both were well respected within football.

Solskjær had been given his first managerial job in the Premier League at Cardiff City where he flopped spectacularly experiencing relegation in his first season. By the time the second season ended he wasn’t there.

He had then returned to Norway where he retook the reins at Molde. This was his second stint as he had spent the years from 2011-2014 managing the Norwegian club.

If United wanted an ex-player who knows the club what would have been wrong with one of these two?

When he took over as caretaker at United Solskjær had spent a total of 6 years at Molde and had won the Tippeligaen twice and the Norwegian Cup once. His win percentage over the two spells averaged out at 55% but this had descended dramatically at Cardiff where it was only 30%. Strangely his win percentage at United is back up at around 54%.

The only reasons we can think of for Woodward bringing him in at Old Trafford are to do with money and personality.

Some people think it was a masterstroke to bring in an ex-player who knew the club from top to bottom. If that was the reason then why not bring in Roy Keane or Steve Bruce? Not only do they know the club from top to bottom but they both had, at the time, more experience than Solskjær in Premier League management and they had certainly both been more successful.

Maybe Woodward thinks they would have been tougher to deal with and would have cost more to sack! Who knows?

All we know for sure is that Solskjær, whilst obviously not agreeing with everything the club does, is generally a yes-man. He won’t have cost anything like what Keane or Bruce would have cost so he was a safe bet financially. He won’t make barbed comments at press conferences as Mourinho and van Gaal did so he was a safe bet PR-wise. If he does end up being sacked he will go quietly without the kind of pay-out handed to the previous two managers.

So, all-in-all, Solskjær was a gamble worth taking in the eyes of an investment banker from Chelmsford. He still isn’t a gamble worth taking in the eyes of many United supporters who see his hesitancy when making substitutions, often waiting until the 80th minute before making the first, his naivete tactically when plan A doesn’t work and his lack of tactical awareness when playing big games such as FA Cup semi-finals or Europa League semi-finals.

Thiago should already be a United player as this was another Ed masterclass in how not to do business a few years ago when Bayern stole him!

There is also the question as to whether or not he is a big enough “name” to attract the top players. Reportedly, Thiago Alcantára chose Liverpool, Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon chose Tottenham and Ferran Torres chose Manchester City. If true it is unlikely they cold shouldered United because of Woodward, incompetent though he may be. Players tend to look at who the manager is and that is a big deciding factor in many transfers.

Whatever the reasons behind employing the Norwegian to manage one of the biggest clubs in the world we wish him all the best and want him to succeed. The two biggest obstacles he has to overcome are his own shortcomings and the people he works for!

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