It was a moving moment when Solskjaer walked on the pitch to say goodbye prior to kick off against Sunderland. He is adored by all at Old Trafford and has played a significant role in putting United in to the history books time and again. Of course his injury time winner against Bayern Munich in the European Cup final will always overshine everything else he achieved with the club, but it is important not to forget the little things.
In a time where footballer’s pay has rocketted, where football is as much about the fame and glory as it is the game, and where egos have become suffocating in some dressing rooms, Solskjaer has quietly got along with his business, doing the job, and never made a fuss about it. Most forwards with a strike rate as impressive as Ole would be expected in this day and age to sulk if they weren’t given the recognition they felt they were owed in the form of first team starts. Just look at Ruud van Nistelrooy, who was benched for a matter of months to make way for our in form striker, Louis Saha, and see how he reacted. In contrast, Ole was a model professional, could be relied and depended upon, and would give his all whether played from the start or for the last ten minutes.
How fortunate we are then to keep a player with his ability and mentality on our books as a coach. Ferguson has always praised Solskjaer’s ability to read the game, and with coaching badges in progress, it made perfect sense for him to move up to the coaching staff, which he did this season.
Initially, working alongside Rene Meulensteen, Ole was coaching strikers from the academy up to the reserve team, passing on his words of wisdom and aiding them with their finishing. He has recently moved up to coaching our first team, something which he had previously been nervous of. Of course there’s going to be odd feelings about coaching people you used to play with, but Sir Alex Ferguson has been massively impressed with how Solskjaer is getting on in his new role.
“He’s started with the first team, and he’s just building his confidence as a coach,” he said. “He was always in the dressing room as one of the players and all of a sudden he’s a coach. But he’s doing great, we’re really pleased with him.”
With fitness and fatigue an issue for all our strikers at present, let’s hope Solskjaer is working wonders with our players. Now tied on goal difference with Arsenal, we need to bag as many goals as we can to set us up nicely for if/when they slip up. Let’s start with the Reebok!