And Solskjaer Has Won It!
Jose Mourinho has gone and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is coming off the bench to save Manchester United again.
What a week it’s been for Manchester United fans! Humiliated by our biggest rivals on Sunday, United reportedly happy with Mourinho on Monday, Mourinho sacked out of the blue on Tuesday, Solskjaer announced as interim manager on Wednesday.
And it’s Christmas next week! What’s next? Ronaldo returns on Thursday? Man City kicked out of football for cheating on Friday? Whatever happens, United fans are buzzing.
But before I start hanging up the stocking on the wall and opening the champagne it would be wrong not to say a few words on Mourinho – like thank God it’s over you absolute (insert choice of swearword here).
Of course I’m joking. As United manager he drove me to despair but now he’s driving home for Christmas I wish him all the best. He’s not our problem anymore so I see no need to disrespect the man. Ultimately his time at United must be classed as a failure. He lost the fans and the players, he made us a laughing stock with our negative style of football, and his constant sniping in the press damaged his reputation beyond repair.
Jose was brought to United to deliver titles. The harsh truth is he never got close and he leaves us further away from one than we’ve ever been since Sir Alex left. Goodbye Jose and good luck.
That brings us nicely on to Solskjaer.
The baby-faced assassin responsible for a very painful twisted ankle in May 1999 that kept me off work for a few days. I say painful, I’d have happily broken both legs and my jaw celebrating Ole’s winner in the 99 Champions league final, so a sprained ankle was a small price to pay for the best moment in my Manchester United fan career. As for the days off work after, the ankle took the blame but the hangovers and continued celebration were the real cause.
Solskjaer as Manchester United manager though? Is this a match made in heaven, or will it be another huge error where a legend goes back to manage a club and only makes things worse? Read Alan Shearer at Newcastle.
Solskjaer has been hugely successful in the Norwegian league but the step up from that standard to the Premier League is like being good at Scaletrix then jumping in to an F1 car and thinking you can beat Lewis Hamilton.
So we move to Cardiff – not literally, that would be hideous – United’s next opponent and Solskjaer’s only foray in to top level football management. Three wins from eighteen games and relegation was what Solskjaer delivered. He was out of his depth to be blunt. So why do a club like Manchester United think Ole is the man to rescue the biggest club in the world?
Because nobody should be criticised for relegating Cardiff? If anything Solskjaer should be rewarded for doing the league a favour.
But in all seriousness, there is a huge element of risk by United in appointing Ole as United manager. What if this goes like Cardiff did? What if he is that brick thrown in to the deep end of the swimming pool and he sinks again? What if he’s worse than Mourinho?
The truth is it won’t really matter. United will never be relegated so what realistically can go wrong? A bit more banter and ridicule from Liverpool fans? Well we’ve had that for two years, a few more months won’t hurt us. No Champions league football next season? That was happening under Jose anyway. The fact is, even if it goes wrong under Ole it won’t make much difference to a season Mourinho had destroyed anyway.
United’s season is effectively a broken down car in a race that’s lost. If Solskjaer can get the behind the wheel and steer us to finish line then great. If he can somehow get us up in to the race for fourth then fantastic. If he can add a lick of paint, tune the engine, and make us look like a racing car again even better.
The next few months is about getting our club back. About feeling excited about watching United again instead of waking up in the second half with drool down your shirt because you’ve passed out from boredom again.
Solskjaer knows Manchester United. He was part of the greatest achievement in our history. He was responsible for my twisted ankle. Let’s back him and see what he can do.