Molde FK are a 100 year old Norwegian club that most of you probably hadn’t heard of until they sold us a 23-year-old striker in 1996. He had scored 31 goals in 38 games and had attracted interest from a few clubs across Europe. Åge Hareide was the manager at the time and offered the Norwegian striker to his former club, Manchester City, as well as Everton, for £1.2m. They both failed to take a punt on him.
United put in a bid of £1.5m during Euro 96, a record transfer fee for a Norwegian club at the time, which was duly accepted. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was a Manchester United player.
Solskjaer went on to play 366 games for United, scoring 126 goals, winning six league titles, 2 FA Cups and most notably, scoring the winning goal in the 1999 European Cup final.
Upon retiring, Solskjaer was put in charge of the United Reserves. In the two and a half years he spent in post he saw our lads crowned champions of England, champions of the northern league, as well as winning the Manchester and Lancashire Senior Cups. It was during this stint that he was offered the job of managing the Norwegian national team, replacing his former Molde boss, Hareide.
“I did not think it was the right time for me to say yes to the offer,” he said at the time. “But of course it was nice to be asked. I work for Manchester United and my career is going in the right direction. It would have been exciting to take on a much bigger job than my current job, but I have a job at United.”
When an offer came in to return to Molde, Solskjaer couldn’t resist and no United fan could really begrudge him taking up that opportunity, as much as we wanted him to stay.
As Solskjaer approaches the end of his first season with the club, the papers this weekend linked him with a move to Blackburn, where fans have been protesting against current manager Steve Kean. Why? Because it turns out Ole has the potential to be a bloody brilliant manager.
Last season, Molde finished 11th out of 16, some 28 points behind champions Rosenburg. This season, with 7 games left to play, they are top of the league, 6 points clear (having played a game more). The final day of the season is at the end of November. Good luck, Ole!