Nice natured Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was once on the receiving end of a red card after committing an intentional foul on Newcastle’s Robert Lee.
As he walked towards the tunnel at Old Trafford, David Beckham ran over to give him a pat on the back. Solskjaer shrugged, “I had to do it,” he said.
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.
So what was Solskjaer thinking about??
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. This team had lost to Arsenal just a week ago so we needed to ensure the same result.
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, which would see him one on one with goalkeeper Raimond Van der Gouw and certainly confirming defeat and a titleless season.
Solskjaer caught up with Lee, swiping his leg out at the Newcastle player, tripping him, knowing he wouldn’t get his foot to the ball in time to stop a goal being scored.
He sacrificed himself for the sake of the team, which sums up his character entirely. Manchester United always came first to him.
Solskjaer walked off the field that day to a standing ovation of rapturous applause… and not for the last time either!