Manchester United v Cardiff City: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer prepares for return to Old Trafford
Solskjaer said he had not spoken to Sir Alex Ferguson since taking over at Cardiff City
Tuesday 28 January 2014
He was lying of course. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s comment that his return to Manchester United was “just another game” was not one to be taken seriously by those who had gathered at the Hilton Hotel to hear the Cardiff manager talk of his return to a place where he spent a third of his life.
When, to several raised eyebrows, he accepted the offer to work for Vincent Tan, he checked the fixture list. Two of his first three league games would be in Manchester. He was theatrically booed at City, who were in the third tier of English football when he won United the European Cup. At Old Trafford, he is loved unconditionally.
Given that Solskjaer had meticulously planned his management career; coaching United’s reserves before returning to manage his former club, Molde, few envisaged a leap in the dark with Tan. His mentor, Sir Alex Ferguson, has long warned of chairmen “who advise their managers on how free-kicks should be taken”.
Ferguson has spoken regularly to Solskjaer but this week the Norwegian stressed that although he may “pop up into the chairman’s suite” to see his old manager tonight, he has not talked to him since coming to Wales.
Tan may not give him security but Solskjaer has been handed something he was unlikely to receive if he followed up Aston Villa’s interest a couple of years ago – money. Kenwyne Jones and the Manchester United pairing of Wilfried Zaha and Fabio da Silva represent formidable reinforcements for a club bottom of the Premier League. And if Cardiff are relegated, it will be the Malaysian rather than the Norwegian who will shoulder the blame.
Naturally, like many of Ferguson’s former players, Solskjaer has imagined himself in the home dug-out at Old Trafford. When the Manchester Evening News asked him straight whether he wanted the United job, Solskjaer laughed and deflected the question with the observation that he would be damned if he said yes and damned if he denied it.
“I have always had a great relationship with Manchester United’s fans,” he said. “Back in Norway, when we’ve been watching United games over the years, I’ve nudged the kids and said: ‘They are still singing about your dad.’
“I am not that emotional a man so it is hard to say how I will feel. You never know. Sometimes, it just catches you, doesn’t it? Like when you do your wedding speech.”
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Sir Alex Ferguson reveals who he thinks is better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
- 2 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 3 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election