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Ole: Fergie Was Furious Over Rob Lee Moment

A fond memory of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for many reds took place when Manchester United hosted Newcastle at Old Trafford.

Before that match, United had been top of the league for 6 months, but now, towards the end of April, we were losing our grip on the title. There were three matches remaining after this match and it was must win.

United went a goal behind after eleven minutes before David Beckham levelled the score with his head before half time. 1-1 wasn’t good enough and United needed a win if they were going to fight off Arsenal to win the league.

Solskjaer was brought on with ten minutes to go, like usual, to try and win us the match. However, it wasn’t his attempts in front of the Newcastle goal that helped us that day.

With a couple of minutes left to play, United were determined to get that all important winning goal, and threw all their men forward. Beckham played a ball in to the box which was cleared faster than anticipated.

Rob Lee bombed after the ball and would eventually be one on one with goalkeeper Raimond Van der Gouw, certainly confirming defeat and a titleless season.

Solskjaer was the fasted player back though and caught up with Lee, swiping his leg out at the Newcastle player and tripping him. He knew he wouldn’t get his foot to the ball in time to stop a goal being scored so tripped up the player instead. This seemed to sum up his attitude as a United player, prepared to take the punishment and criticism for the sake of the success of the team.

However, Ole has reflected on how Sir Alex Ferguson view his act of self-sacrifice.

“I stepped out of line and he put me in my place in front of everyone,” said Solskjaer. “I was called into his office next morning and had to pay a fine. He wanted us to win but he did not want us to cheat. He didn’t want to be associated with that and he was right.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Terrystears says:

    indeed a fond memory along with Nou Camp 99 and the FA cup winner vs the Dippers the previous February

  2. Costas says:

    I don’t mind that moment. Personifies the unselfishness of Ole. He fouled him, he saw a deserved red. Alas, no cheating imo.

    Newcastle have still to win at Old Trafford in decades. Thanks to Ole.

  3. hammons says:

    That was then, because I dont think he fined Fabio against Wolves last season ….

    Off topic, Villa Preview: Don’t Get Mugged By The Villains ….

  4. Red Devil says:


    too right mate…..”he had to’ :)

  5. redmaniac99 says:

    Right from the night in Nou Camp to the Nottingham Forest game, too many Ole memories. Baby faced Assassin!

  6. Macheda_the_Messiah says:

    One of my favourite moments from 2O LEgend.

    Here it is:

    Can (and have) watched this endlessly!

  7. urval87 says:

    Hes right United in title winning seasons always have a few losses but vvery few draws………

  8. Red Dave says:

    sorry Fergie, but it was a decision took in the moment, you made the right choice ole
    ill be 35 by the time youre manager, and ill be just as excited as i am now

  9. redpete says:

    yeah i remember that episode well… still think Ole did well on that occasion… sorry, gaffer

  10. Whiteside Curler says:

    Lol he was miles behind at the start!

    It should’ve only been a booking there was nothing clear cut about the scoring opportunity, it was Rob Lee after all!

  11. willierednut says:

    I feel for Ole here, Ronaldo seemed to get away with worse.

  12. arijc says:

    Phelan speaking about Rooney today:
    “He’s been doing really well… training hard… our people out there have been really pleased with his attitude and approach.”
    He also said that “he’ll be back tomorrow and at training Monday.”

  13. willierednut says:

    arijc – I heard the Wigan game is what there looking at, hopefully any way.

  14. arijc says:

    willierednut – Sounds like he should be ready for the game against Wigan. Not that I feel like welcoming him back, but he is most effective of the lot at playing up front on his own.

    Further from the Phelan press conf, Rafael and Gary Nev out of #MUFC game at #AVFC. Scholes suspended. Also several players still suffering from virus.

  15. says:

    evra trained today as well? he could be ready for villa?

  16. Costas says:

    Yeah, looks like Evra will make it. Good news. But they still haven’t dealt with the virus? It’s been over 2 weeks now.

  17. arijc says:
    Yep, Evra trained today.

  18. bigphil2003 says:

    Solskjaer made the right choice for him, Fergie made the right choice for him. It helped the team but I couldn’t help feel a bit dirty about the whole thing.

  19. StatesideAussie says:

    @Whiteside Curler … nah, much as I love Ole, and think he did the right thing, but it was a clear red card. He says himself that he knew that at the time. The rules don’t say the the attacking player must have been about to score, or even likely to score, only that he has a “clear opportunity” to score. Whether he stood a good chance of actually scoring is irrelevant. One-on-one with the goalie like that, there’s no doubt he had an opportunity to try, and that’s all that counts.

    But watching Ole streak across the field in pursuit, and then bring him down like that … what a sight!

  20. zX says:

    legend! nuff said…

  21. rat1p says:

    asked that allready in the other thread but nobody was answering =(, is there a GIF of that rafael vs. shitface incident ?
    thx in advance

  22. wayne says:

    @rat1p theres a video of it on united latest

  23. Jed says:

    If Torres/Henry/Drogba had done this they’d be called cheating cunts no doubt.

  24. wayne says:

    @jed who do you support i’ve noticed your comments are always to get a rise out of people

  25. Whiteside Curler says:

    Stateside: I was only joking mate, it was about as blatant as they come. But like you say, what a sight! I just wish he hadn’t waited for the ref to pull out the card!

  26. Whiteside Curler says:

    sayyid: Micah frigging Richards? Must be that scouse humour.

  27. sayyid says:

    Richards desnt even start games for City

    Rooney is delusional

  28. FletchTHEMAN says:

    SAF may have fined Ole, but that moment sealed Oles worth for me. What a man. Knew what it meant. Knew it was a red card. Keano would have done it and just straight away walked off the pitch. Ole stood there, respecting the referee and so never received and extra match ban. Van der Goaw knew Ole had saved the game. Beckham knew Ole had saved the game. Every United fan worth their salt stood and clapped him off.

  29. loughie21 - TPL says:

    Love Ole, but hate that moment. It was cheating, simple as. If any opposition player did it against us I’d be frothing at the mouth screaming for proper punishment. I understand why he did it, but I’d rather we’d have lost the match to be honest…

  30. dileepan says:

    I remember that match. But the one thing I liked about the whole incident is of how he didn’t stand there and try and argue with the ref or anything. He accepted the punishment and i think he told Beckham ‘I had to do it’. Unlike players nowadays, who would stand and argue with the ref of how they got the ball and how it was a clean tackle…

  31. says:

    i dont see this as cheating, it is what you have to do to stop the play and knowing it will cost you a red card, ejection and suspension.

    It was not like it was not obvious. Cheating is trying to deceive the ref into awarding you a call. Diving, pretending to get hit in my opinion is more of what cheating is about.

    Ole did this in the open, went for the guys legs to stop him from scoring. What was he supposed to do, run all the way and just watch him score?

  32. dileepan says:

    That is Rooney’s ultimate team in fifa 11,a game and not in real life…and micah richards is rated v highly in fifa 11…

  33. Costas says:

    I don’t consider it cheating either. Not when you are punished to the full extent of the law. I was saying the same when Suarez handled the ball against Ghana.

    As says, cheating is when you are try to con the ref imo.

  34. Ajo Paul says:

    Totally agreed with what SAF had to say. His attitude was right alright, but nevertheless negative football is unhealthy, we all know that.. remember suarez hand ball inside goal post from recent worldcup?? and henry’s handball against ireland..

  35. loughie21 - TPL says:

    I still think it was cheating, its purposefully breaking the rules of football to your advantage.

    To point out the Uruguay game, the guy handled on the line stopping a definate goal, was sent off with a minute left resulting in a missed penalty and his team going on to win. Was he really punished? His team got to go out the next match with 11 men, so they lost no man advantage and gained a World Cup semi final. It was a disgrace.

    Ole’s isn’t as bad, but I still think its cheating. If he pressured Lee, maybe, just maybe he would have missed. He still had time and Rob Lee was still out far enough, but yeah, it was wrong IMO. I’m not gonna lambast anyone for thinking otherwise, different strokes and all that. But wish he hadn’t done it.

  36. Costas says:

    Yeah not arguing loughie. It’s just a difference of opinion on this matter. Suarez missed the next game and his absence was costly for Uruguay. So the red did have an effect, although not directly. We’ve seen goalies take down a striker when they are through on goal and receive a red as a result. Again, I can’t see that as cheating. The opposition is given the numerical advantage and they can capitalise on that.

  37. Fze123 says:

    I look back at this memory with fondness. It’s one of those moments that sum up one aspect of a player’s character.. this tackle summed up Ole’s great selflessness. I don’t think its cheating, he took one for the team. Its understandable why Fergie was unhappy though.

  38. mojo289 says:

    Great tribute to Ole and his last season at United:

  39. Dave Malaysia says:

    Ole is a great human being and footballer, considering he is humble n down to earth, not letting the fame and love from the fans to lose himself in arrogance and such.

    Insights like that above on Fergie helps us fans to understand what goes on behind closed doors
    at our club. Ole saved us with what he did and i am sure Fergis appreciated it but doing things the right way is in the Manutd’s DNA. We r not perfect for sure but love the foundation,structure and purpose of the club. On the right bedrock. Following Manutd is like taking courses in the Open University.

    About this weekend, the squad looks good and since we dont have a game midweek,we can play the strongest side without rotating.Fergie will pick the best squad to get the job done.
    The danger we face is agbonlahor,signing a new deal and just back,we need to be careful.
    Otherwise with half thier key players out villa can be neutralised in this battle.

    First I wish Manutd win this battle comfortably.

    Then the results in the other games need to go our way.
    Birmingham need to win thier battle with City.
    Everton must certainily win thier battle at Goodison with Arsenal.
    Brucey’s Sunderland with Gyan starting alonsgside Bent and Wellbeck in support in the wings
    must surely win thier battle with Chelsea.

    The other results hopefully will be helpful as well.

    Lets do this Manutd,lets win today.


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