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.”