Who put the ball in the German’s net? My brief tribute to Ole Gunnar Solskjær…20LEGEND…
I don’t really know how words can do this great man justice. I’m fearful of writing too much, I’ll end up rambling on and this piece may lose any emotion or feeling with it, so this will be short and sweet.
Ole is moving on to manage his home team, Molde, back in Norway. And so ends a 14 year allegiance with United. 14 brilliant years in which a once lethal striker has matured into a well respected and successful coach.
Ole’s impact at our club cannot be pinpointed to just that goal in Barcelona, it lies much deeper. He made a goalscoring debut and entertained us with some of the best finishing our fans have ever seen – late winners, most memorably against Liverpool, Bayern and Celtic; four goals on not just one occasion; headers; volleys; tap ins; instinctive shots through the legs of opposition defenders…everything you want from a deadly striker.
For me there are three things that Ole has left as a shining example and a legacy at United: professionalism, courage and experience. Never once did he complain that he’d be on the bench, having scored four goals in ten minutes at Nottingham Forest he then found himself on the bench again for the next league game…ultimate professional. In the 2003/04 season having played on the right wing Ole injured his knee, in the summer of 2004 he had to undergo serious knee surgery. It took 16 months for him to return in a reserves match – fans turned up in huge numbers for a mid-winter reserve game to see him return. The courage and will to return that Ole showed aged 31 speaks volumes. He returned aged nearly 33 from 16 months out…incredible courage. Finally his experience is now being passed on through his coaching. He isn’t the first retired United player to move on to coaching and he won’t be the last but his keenness to work with youth and impart his knowledge on them shows his passion for the game.
To me Ole was everything as I was growing up. Barcelona 1999 was a peak in my early childhood, nights like that will never be forgotten. As a player I loved Ole; as a role model he was perfect; and now as a coach I’m still blown away by how he presents himself and the style with which he coaches.
Ole will no doubt have a very successful career as a manager now and I can only hope he finds his way back to Old Trafford…the door will always be open…
To end, I just want to share a load of videos from YouTube with you…as I thought I might I’m really struggling with words, it’s so hard to do him justice. So please, like me, just enjoy these videos and smile, cry, let your hairs stand up on end and thank Ole Gunnar Solsjær:
And my favourite is left to the end: