”Sunny” returns to Old Trafford after 8178 days
Ole Gunnar ”Sunny” Solskjær makes a fairytale comeback at Old Trafford. 22 years after being bought as a player by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, he takes over as the manager of the Red Devils.
He replaces José Mourinho with immediate effect and heads the team against his old employer, Cardiff, on Saturday. Mike Phelan is Solskjær’s primary assistant.
Solskjær tells Manchester United’s official website:
“United has a special place in my heart. It is wonderful to be back in this role. I look forward to working with the talented players we have and everybody else in the club.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær basically has the job for the remainder of the current season. He enters a club that is entirely out of contention in the Premier League and which meets the French top team, Paris St. Germain, in the championship league in February.
Most experts agree that Solskjær’s chances of keeping the job on a permanent basis are not very large. Several big names, including Mauricio Pochettino and Zinédine Zidane, are pointed out as the hottest candidates to take the Sisyphus task on as of June.
The Red Devils have a very agreeable schedule in store, with one exception, an away game against Tottenham, before February 12th, 2019. Then, PSG will come to Old Trafford in what will be the second major test for the baby-faced assassin.
Wednesday it was 8178 days since Solskjær first became a Manchester United player. That happened on July 29nd, 1996, after the striker was flown from Molde to Manchester on the private plane of Norwegian business tycoon, Kjell Inge Røkke.
Solskjær quickly became a favourite at Old Trafford and scored 18 league goals in his first season for the Red Devils. He was given the nickname ”the Baby-faced Assassin” because of his boyish looks and his clinical finishing. He is, likewise, bestowed with the endearment ”Sunny”, both because of his name and disposition.
The Norwegian striker often had the role as a super-sub. He chose to stay on despite being coveted by many other clubs. He remained loyal to United until a knee injury ended his illustrious career as a player in August 2007.
The highlights of Solskjær’s eleven seasons long career as a Manchester United player are galore. First among them is that he was the match decider in the Champions League final in 1999 when United beat Bayern Munich after a thriller.
Another memorable occasion occurred In 1999 when Solskjær scored four goals as a substitute in a match against Nottingham Forest.
Solskjær’s legacy is 126 goals scored in 366 matches for Manchester United. He missed almost two full seasons due to injury.
August 2nd, 2008, he played his testimonial at Old Trafford. The day before, one of England’s most acclaimed football reporters, Henry Winter, wrote this:
“There will not be a single dry eye on Old Trafford when Ole Gunnar Solskjær – a role model in football, a United icon and the man who put the ball in the net behind the Germans – enters the pitch for the last time.
After the Cardiff match on Saturday, Manchester United plays Huddersfield on Christmas Day and Bournemouth four days later. Both at Old Trafford.
Solskjær can give Manchester United a boost
Manchester United club director, Ed Woodward, believes that Ole Gunnar Solskjær will unite both players and supporters before entering the second half of the Premier Leauge season.
– Ole is a club legend with huge experience, both as a player and in coaching. His history at Manchester United means that he lives and breathes the culture here. Everyone in the club is delighted to have him and Mike Phelan back, the Club Director, Ed Woodward, writes in a press release.
Woodward has faced a lot of criticism in recent years, including for the hiring of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and José Mourinho. He believes Solskjær will lift the mood in the wardrobe after a dismal start of the season.
– We are confident that the managerial team will join both players and supporters into the second half of the season, Woodward continues.
On Tuesday it became apparent that José Mourinho was dismissed as Manchester United manager. He secured three trophies for the mega-club in his time at Old Trafford.
Solskjær thanks Røkke & Gjelsten for the opportunity
Erling Moe becomes the head coach of Molde until next summer at least.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær states in a press release from Molde FC:
“In football, you never know what will happen. We get proof of time after time. This is an opportunity I had to grab. I am looking forward to leading Manchester United until the summer. At the same time, I will follow closely what is happening here at home. We have built stone upon stone and the end of the season provides us with hope for another good season to come.
I wish to thank the club and Kjell Inge (Røkke) and Bjørn Rune (Gjelsten) for once again wishing me good luck at the biggest club in the world.
Big day for Norwegian football
Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg (Conservatives) was quickly on the ball regarding Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s interim managerial job at Manchester United. She immediately tweeted:
FINALLY CONFIRMED! Great day for Norwegian football. Good luck keeping control of the Red Devils, @olegs26_ole
— Erna Solberg (@erna_solberg) December 19, 2018
Solberg also tweeted a congratulation on Tuesday, but it was deleted shortly after. The news agency AP is among several media who speculated if it was the Prime Minister who first confirmed the news.
Stats about Managers in Manchester United
Managers of Manchester United since 1986:
Sir Alex Ferguson (1986-2013)
- Won 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cup titles, 4 League Cup titles, 10 Community Shield trophies, 2 Champions Leauge titles, 1 title in the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup, 1 European Super Cup title and 1 title in the World Cup for Clubs.
- Ended his career with a Premier League title in 2013.
- Victory Percentage: 59.67.
- Additionally, he won the Scottish League with Abeerden before headhunted to Old Trafford.
David Moyes (2013-2014)
- Vant Community Shield.
- Was sacked in April 2014. United was then in the 7th place in the Premier League.
- Victory Percentage: 52.94
Louis van Gaal (2014-2016)
- Won the FA Cup in 2016.
- Was fired after leading the club to 4th and 5th place in the Premier League.
- Victory Percentage: 52.43
José ”the Chosen One” Mourinho (2016-2018)
- Won 1 European League title, 1 Premier League title and 1 Community Shield trophy.
- Achieved the 2nd place as best Premier League finish. Was dismissed in December 2018 after a dismal autumn season.
- Victory Percentage: 58.33
Facts about Ole Gunnar ”Sunny” Solskjær
- Age: 45 (born February 26nd, 1973 in Kristiansund, Northern Møre)
- Occupation: Football Manager
- Club: Molde / Manchester United
- Merits: Two Norwegian League titles (2011 and 2012) and one Cup title (2013) with Molde
- Former Clubs as the Manager: Molde (2015 – 2018), Cardiff (2014), Molde (2010-2014) and Manchester United Second Team (2008-2010)
- Clubs as a player: Manchester United, Molde and Clausenengen (Kristiansund)
- Matches/goals for Manchester United: 366/126
- Matches/goals for Molde: 42/31
- Matches/goals for Norway: 67/23.
- Said thanks, but no thanks to the job as Manager for Norway in 2017.
- Interim Manager after José Mourinho (Portugal) got sacked by Manchester United.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today