Why Ole Gunnar Solskjær Will Not Lose The Support Of The Fans

Posted: October 20, 2020 in Arsenal, Champions League, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Managers, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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Ole Gunnar Solskjær would never have been interviewed by any other Premier League club, let alone be given the manager’s job. His only experience with the division had been at Cardiff City with whom he suffered relegation. He was fired in his second season before it could ever be known whether or not he would take them back up, down another level or tread water somewhere betwixt and between.

So with this very inauspicious spell at a “Premier League club”, (albeit a relegated one), now over he hightailed it back to Norway to the relative comfort of Molde where he would achieve relative success but nothing, or so you would think, so earth-shattering or seismic as to draw the attention of one of the biggest clubs in the world.

What was it then that made a merchant banker from Chelmsford look at Solskjær as a successor to José Mourinho? Was it perhaps that Woodward himself was in a position for which he was entirely unqualified and unsuitable? After all, how many of the world’s biggest clubs have a totally non-football person handling their transfer business?

Or was it that, having gone down the ‘big name manager’ route with Louis van Gaal and José Mourinho, Woodward now wanted a yes man who would, effectively, do as he was told and not rock the boat?

He would also get little to no objection from the supporters as Solskjær had scored the winning goal in the 1999 Champion’s League final, along with many others. In other words he was, as a player, a fan’s favourite.

This man is still the favourite to replace Solskjær

It was a win/win situation. Appoint him as caretaker to start with then see how it goes. If, as Woodward expected, it didn’t go well, then he could thank the Norwegian for his efforts and appoint Mauricio Pochettino or another ‘name’ manager with the supporters sympathy that his attempt to ‘keep it in the family’ hadn’t worked.

However, it did work and initially it worked quite spectacularly so much so that, instead of waiting until the end of the season to reflect and probably give Solskjær the job, Woodward rushed the decision and appointed him in March.

It is fair to say that United’s fortunes have been up and down since that fateful day. They have had a promising looking season in which much could have been delivered, turn into a season where nothing was delivered.

Three cup semi-finals came and went with the club losing all three. Tactics were questioned, team selection was questioned. In fact, the manager’s ability was constantly questioned but he always appeared to have the fan’s backing!

Two of Ole’s biggest supporters defending him to the hilt because… well… because he’s Ole!

Ex team mates who had criticised previous managers despite them winning trophies wouldn’t hear a bad word said against Solskjær. The fault lay everywhere but with the manager according to them.

The team finished in 3rd place and Solskjær was lauded for this “success” despite the fact that it was actually the arrival and subsequent performances of Bruno Fernandes which had propelled United so high up the table.

The start of this current season has been really mixed. A lucky away win at Brighton was sandwiched between two home defeats to Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur with an aggregate score of 2-9. Then came a decent performance in beating Newcastle away.

So what do supporters really think? Well, believe it or not, and despite winning nothing, many are still firmly behind him citing progression and youth as their main reasons.

Let’s be honest though, losing three semi-finals and finishing third is not progression nor is it success. It is, in fact, failure. If either of van Gaal or Mourinho had failed in those competitions then the same fans would be baying for blood!

Solksjær has given youth a chance if you consider that Mason Greenwood has become almost a regular in the first team and Brandon Williams has been given some game time. He has also recalled Dean Henderson from his loan at Sheffield United, but steadfastly refuses to drop David De Gea despite some high profile errors!

As for targeting young English players in the transfer market, which is another fan reason for supporting him, there is no real evidence of this barring a failed attempt at signing Jadon Sancho.

Not the winger or centre back Ole wanted but he may score more goals!

The club actually signed Donny van de Beek (Holland), Alex Telles (Brazil) and Edinson Cavani (Uruguay), the latter being a loan deal. None of these could be described as particularly young and certainly not as English.

The club did, however, make some young signings. They signed Amad Diallo (Ivory Coast) and Facundo Pellistri (Uruguay) again not much English in evidence here!

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has also been forced to lie by the board when having to backtrack on statements he has made previously in obvious good faith and has, unforgivably but maybe understandably, come out and backed the Glazers as ‘good owners’.

And despite all this, despite record-equalling home defeats, despite winning nothing, despite regularly having his tactics, his substitutions and his team selection questioned, he still has the support of many fans. Who else? Sir Alex is probably the only one who would be backed to this extent!

Solskjær has one of the best managerial jobs in world football. Unfortunately, and we say that because we would love for him to succeed, he isn’t very good at it. Why is he still there when bigger names certainly wouldn’t be? Simple. On a Wednesday night in May, 1999 Solskjær was brought on at the Nou Camp and he scored a goal which won the Champion’s League for Manchester United.

Because of that a lot of fans will forgive him anything!

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