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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 1996-2007 366 Games 126 Goals

November 18, 2009

Written by: Adam Carpenter

Watching Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for me personally was an honour, either on the T.V or even at the match, as he is my all time favourite football player.

Many will call the purchase of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the best ever transfer for money value Sir Alex has ever bought from another club. Eric Cantona would no doubt give that a run for the money though. Solskjaer was brought in from Molde in 1996, where he scored 31 goals in 42 matches. His debut came this season where he got off to an incredible start in his Manchester United career, scoring against Blackburn who only won the title the season before. Scoring 18 premiership goals in his first season was no mean feat. The time that Ole really showed his true class was when he built one of the most fearsome striking relationships in the world at the time with Teddy Sheringham which was the 1998/1999 season. This ironically could probably only be eclipsed by teammates Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke. Solskjaer just had that knack of scoring key goals at key times, such as the F.A. cup tie in 1999 at Old Trafford against Liverpool where he finished the late comeback to send United through. Then his right peg quite possibly played the most important part in the clubs history, where he got on the end of a Teddy Sheringham flick from a Beckham corner in the 1999 champions league final, to complete the treble and give Sir Alex Ferguson his first European cup, this goal sent Manchester into absolute delirium and Barcelona was well and truly invaded and conquered by Manchester. What followed on from this was that Solskjaer was amongst the fans favourite names from then on had his name sung at the games home and away. This despite him picking up a long term injury. Around this time he got himself earned the nickname of the baby faced assassin, which I think is funny.

After Sheringham, Cole and Yorke left Man United, Solskjaer remained. He was used as a pairing with new signing and prolific predator in front of goal in the shape of Ruud Van Nistelrooy. He was often used on the right wing too as cover for David Beckham. The trouble for Solskjaer and United was that he picked up a serious knee injury in 2003. A year later in August 2004 he had to undergo knee surgery which forced him to miss the whole of the 2004/2005 season. He set himself within United folklore when he joined up with the Manchester United supporters trust, previously shareholders United. Again series of smaller injuries kept him for regularly playing and he made his full return in the premiership against Charlton in August 2006, where he scored the third goal in a 3-0 win, and I remember it quite vividly as his celebration was a bow of acknowledgement to the United supporters who had shown massive faith in him during his tough time injury wise. This was a great moment for Solskjaer as he was back in the action and the goals as he continued the season with many goals to his name, like the winner vs. Celtic, a brace against Newcastle and a goal over Wigan to round off a 3-1 win. He scored more goals this season and it looked like at 32 years old he still had his eye for goal just as good as he did in his younger days.

Once again Solskjaer had to have knee surgery the following season where he recovered from it, but then failed to fully recover afterwards. He decided for the good of his health that his knee’s could not cope with it anymore especially in the pace and power of the premier league, so in August 2007 he decided to call it a day and retire from all forms of football. Manchester United fans everywhere understood why he retired but were obviously very gutted for him as how well he served the club, and they repaid him with the love and faith. During his time at United, Solskjaer helped his team to 6 premier leagues, 2 F.A. cups and the European cup, which will all never forget.

His testimonial came around a year after he retired from football and it was the 2nd August 2008 in a friendly against Espanyol. I was lucky enough to be at Old Trafford that day and it was an emotional one. Solskjaer started on the bench and come on around 60 minutes in with the score still tied at 0-0, he took a shot from the corner of the box facing the Stretford end, it rattled the cross bar and I think it would have sent Old Trafford mad as it would have been a wonderful way to finish his United career, but it wasn’t to be. He still looked very sharp at his age and I thought if it wasn’t for his knee problem he would have carried on for many more years, as he kept his body in shape just as well as Giggs does. Luckily enough Frazier Campbell ensured that the testimonial would not end with United failing to get victory as he scored around 10 minutes from time and United won 1-0. After the game Solskjaer did a speech and an emotional one at that calling the United faithful the best fans in the world as of their love and loyalty for him. He then walked around the pitch to appreciate Old Trafford for the very last time and I standing in the north stand brought a tear to my eye. A day I will never forget for the rest of my life I know that much.

Nowadays Solskjaer is still involved with Untied and he is currently the manager of the reserve team. He has done a great job so far and has let Sir Alex know of the young talent that is in the reserves. He also turned down the chance of becoming the coach of Norway to stay on and manage United reserves. He did say he will take the job one day to gain more managerial experience though, and I a sure that will lead him in good stead to become one day a future Manchester United manager, I certainly hope anyway.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Red wales permalink
    November 22, 2009 12:26 pm

    Robi what a fantastic read, Oli was my favourite player too,

    Think he has a place in all our hearts because if the goal he scored in the CL cup final.

    Keep up the good work on here.

    • November 22, 2009 1:04 pm

      Thanks Redwales this was an excellent piece of work from Adam he said Ole was his favourite player so he enjoyed writing this one very much
      I must say I enjoyed reading it aswell

  2. Kevin permalink
    December 12, 2009 8:08 am

    20legend-Great tribute to a great player and a man who i’ve said numerous times will succeed Sir Alex and take the top job.
    Thumbs Up Adam!

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