Manchester United followers had trigger for celebration on July 29 because the date marks the 25th anniversary of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signing for the membership.
Now serving as supervisor, Solskjaer started his affiliation with United in the summertime of 1996, when he signed from Norwegian membership Molde FK.
The younger striker, 23 years outdated on the time, shortly turned a well-liked determine at Outdated Trafford because of his admirable work ethic, unquestionable expertise and blissful knack of digging Sir Alex Ferguson’s aspect out of bother with very important late targets.
Solskjaer was a favorite of Ferguson too, who as soon as singled out the Norwegian as a “marvellous finisher, among the finest I’ve identified” — excessive reward from a person who has additionally boasted the likes of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham, Eric Cantona, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo amongst his attacking choices over time.
With Ole now firmly behind the wheel at Outdated Trafford having signed a new three-year contract earlier this month, listed below are 25 issues to find out about a person who has carved out his personal particular place in Premier League historical past.
1. Shrewd signing
Solskjaer signed for United for simply £1.5 million when he arrived from Molde in the summertime of 1996. He had already scored 33 targets in 42 appearances for the membership by the point United broke the Norwegian switch report to safe his companies. It is truthful to say that United got a decent return on their investment as he bagged 126 in 366 video games over 11 years.
2. Plan B
Solskjaer wasn’t United’s first alternative to unravel their seek for a striker that summer season, with Ferguson keen to usher in confirmed goal-machine Alan Shearer from Blackburn Rovers as a precedence. Nevertheless, the lure of an emotional homecoming proved too nice for Shearer who as a substitute returned to boyhood aspect Newcastle United in a then-world report £15m switch. Having missed out on his prime goal, Fergie switched tack and determined to pursue a little-known rookie from the Norwegian prime flight — a rookie that Molde had beforehand been providing to varied golf equipment round Europe to little curiosity.
3. Metropolis’s loss was United’s acquire
Molde supervisor Aage Hareide assumed someone was trying to prank him when United made contact over Solskjaer in the summertime of 1996, halfway by the European Championship that was taking place in England that summer season. This was as a result of the membership had supplied Solskjaer to each Manchester City and Everton only a few months prior, and for a considerably smaller price than United had opened their negotiations with. Hareide said on the time:
“I believed somebody was being mischievous and the fax was not all it appeared. However after I inspected it intently it appeared real. We nonetheless contacted United to double-check after which accepted their supply.”
4. Recent faces
Solskjaer wasn’t afforded his personal particular person introduction at United and as a substitute needed to accept a bunch unveiling alongside fellow new recruits Ronny Johnsen, Jordi Cruyff, Karel Poborsky and Raimond van der Gouw. Some wore denims, others wore full equipment and two even wore flip flops. Switch unveilings actually have come a good distance up to now 25 years.
5. Gary Neville wasn’t satisfied
Recalling the primary time he noticed Solskjaer arrive at United’s outdated coaching floor, The Cliff, United right-back Neville admitted he assumed the younger striker was a “competitors winner” attributable to how nervous and misplaced he regarded. Neville told Sky Sports’ “Off Script” podcast:
“I bear in mind Ole strolling into the altering room on the Cliff for the primary time and he walks in with what I can solely describe as a jumper from the 1970s, Truthfully, no phrase of a lie, I genuinely thought he should have gained a contest like as a fan from Norway or one thing. He walked in, he regarded about 9, he walked in and he was like very skinny, he had this jumper on, which I all the time point out to him.
“Then after a few week in coaching, I bear in mind we have been taking part in a small-sided recreation and he had his strategy of scoring a aim when he was briefly areas. He would take it to the aspect after which push it again, pull it again by your legs into the far nook and I am considering ‘He is a bit extra intelligent than he seems to be.'”
6. Targets over grappling
It is simply Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wrestling his dad. Nothing uncommon to see right here. pic.twitter.com/KAlsuLxujw
— Recreation of Throw-ins (@GameofThrowIns) March 1, 2021
Solskjaer has revealed up to now that he dabbled in wrestling for a couple of years as a child, however finally determined to focus solely on soccer as grappling “wasn’t the game for me.” This should have come as a minor disappointment to his father Oivind, who’s a former Norwegian wrestling champion. Actually, the elder Solskjaer even has a signature transfer (“The Solskjaer-Stikk”) named after him. Here we see the pair going through their paces in the family dining room, circa 1998.
7. Scored on United debut
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 25, 2017
Any issues over Solskjaer’s pedigree have been banished on Aug. 25, 1996 when Solskjaer scored on his United debut, taking simply six minutes to take action. The Norwegian missed United’s first three video games of the marketing campaign: the primary a 4-Zero drubbing of Newcastle (and Shearer) within the Charity Protect; the second a 3-Zero win over Wimbledon on the opening day of the league season, greatest remembered for David Beckham’s spectacular midway line aim; the third was a 2-2 dwelling draw towards Everton. Solskjaer was then named among the many substitutes towards Blackburn at Outdated Trafford. He emerged from the bench within the 64th minute and opened his account for his new club in the 70th by tapping home the equaliser in one other 2-2 draw.
8. Scored on first begin for United, too
Solskjaer additionally scored on his first full begin for United, towards Nottingham Forest — a workforce he would quickly return to hang-out — on Sept. 14, 1996. The striker scored United’s first aim in a complete 4-1 win which despatched them prime of the league.
9. First European aim
Solskjaer’s first European aim for United quickly adopted when Speedy Vienna got here to Outdated Trafford on Sept. 25 within the group stage of the Champions League, his first begin within the competitors. He scored the primary aim of the sport with 20 minutes on the clock earlier than an extra strike from Beckham wrapped up a simple 2-Zero win.
10. Breakout yr
In whole, the “Child-faced Murderer” scored 18 Premier League targets in simply 33 appearances throughout 1996-97 as he ended his first season at United because the membership’s prime aim scorer (with 19 in all competitions). By way of league targets, this was to be his most prolific ever in a United shirt, with the 17 targets he scored in 30 appearances in 2001-02 the closest he got here to equalling his maiden haul.
11. The nickname
Solskjaer positively wasn’t the primary sportsperson to be billed because the “Child-faced Murderer” (many boxers have shared the moniker over time), however he is the one prime footballer to have it stick. It is unclear who’s answerable for giving it to Solskjaer, but it surely was positively used proper from the beginning — with the British press recurrently referring to the impish Norwegian as such throughout his debut season.
As you’ll have guessed by now, the nickname is a reference to Solskjaer’s distinctive mixture of youthful complexion and ruthless ending. Even as we speak, he stays one of many few middle-aged males who can nonetheless feasibly get away with being known as “baby-faced” regardless of being deep into his 40s.
12. The infant-face might flip heel
🗣️ Solskjaer: “After I obtained despatched off towards Newcastle a few years in the past. I believed I did the suitable factor for the workforce.
— The Sportsman (@TheSportsman) April 14, 2021
Solskjaer proved that he additionally had a imply streak when he succumbed to the darkish arts throughout a recreation towards Newcastle in April 1998. Nonetheless within the title chase, Ferguson’s aspect have been on track for a 1-1 draw and needed to keep away from defeat in any respect prices. So when midfielder Rob Lee instantly broke upfield within the 89th minute with the United aim at his mercy, United’s substitute striker knew what needed to be executed. Solskjaer charged after Lee and crudely hacked him down. Regardless of solely coming off the bench 10 minutes earlier, he was proven a straight pink card by referee Uriah Rennie in one of many best selections the official ever needed to make. Solskjaer missed United’s last three video games of the season, however his sacrifice was in useless: Arsenal gained the title by some extent.
13. 4 targets in 19 minutes
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 6, 2019
Solskjaer shocked the Premier League when he got here off the bench towards Nottingham Forest and scored four goals in a mesmerising 10-minute blitz. On Feb. 6,1999, United thrashed a hopeless Forest 8-1 on the Metropolis Floor with the Norwegian chipping in with half these targets regardless of solely coming into the fray within the 71st minute (when he changed Yorke, who was in search of a hat trick of his personal). Solskjaer’s four-goal cameo stays a Premier League report for a substitute, and we suspect it is a report which may stand for a while but.
Solskjaer additionally holds the report for essentially the most targets scored for Manchester United in its place, scoring 28 instances after coming off the bench. He held the report for Premier League for many targets scored in its place (17) for a few years, though three gamers have since surpassed his tally: Javier Hernandez (19), Olivier Giroud (20) and Jermaine Defoe (24).
🔴🎵 Late in Could 1999, Ole scored a aim in damage time… 🎵
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 26, 2021
Could 26, 1999, Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona is a date and place that may stay perpetually within the hearts and minds of United followers, they usually have Solskjaer to thank for it. It was his stoppage-time aim that cemented his place within the historical past books as United roared from behind to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 within the final seconds of the Champions League last. Trailing 1-Zero after Mario Basler’s sixth-minute free kick, United introduced Teddy Sheringham and Solskjaer on within the second half as they desperately chased the sport. Sheringham scored with 90:36 on the clock to degree the rating earlier than Solskjaer prodded home the winner on 92:17 to complete a dizzying turnaround. Solskjaer regarded as if he might scarcely consider what he’d executed as he and his workforce celebrated successful the Treble because the Bayern workforce have been left bemused as to how they misplaced.
15. Historical past repeating
👎 Could not make it to our #Treble99 Reunion recreation two weeks in the past as we speak?
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) June 9, 2019
Could 26, 1999: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer comes on as an alternative to Cole and scores towards Bayern Munich to seal the Treble.
Could 26, 2019: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer comes on as an alternative to Cole and scores towards Bayern Munich within the “Treble 99” reunion recreation.
Not fairly as dramatic, however nonetheless emotional sufficient to tug on the coronary heart strings.
16. Last recreation
Solskjaer’s last-ever recreation for United was the 2007 FA Cup final towards Chelsea, which he entered as an extra-time substitute within the 112th minute at Wembley. Sadly, Didier Drogba scored the one aim of the sport 4 minutes later to wrap issues up within the Blues’ favour.
17. Early retirement
Solskjaer reluctantly known as time on his taking part in profession on Aug. 28, 2007 on the age of 34 after a four-year battle with a recurring knee damage. He nonetheless managed to attain 11 targets throughout his last season as United gained the Premier League, thus bowing out along with his sixth title.
18. An all-time United nice
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer liked scoring targets 😍 pic.twitter.com/kqxwd94SVX
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 31, 2020
Despite all that point spent on the bench and the damage points that dogged a lot of his 11-year profession at United, Solskjaer nonetheless completed up with a total of 126 goals in 366 games. He’s seventh on United’s all-time goal-scorer record behind George Finest (137 targets), Van Nistelrooy (150), Paul Scholes (152), Ryan Giggs (163), Denis Regulation (182) and Wayne Rooney (253).
19. The last word “tremendous sub”
Of the 366 appearances Solskjaer made for United, 150 have been made in its place. Of the 126 targets he scored, 33 got here over the last 15 minutes of matches.
Through the 11 years he spent as a participant at United, Solskjaer gained 9 main trophies: six Premier League titles, the Champions League, two FA Cups, two Charity/Neighborhood Shields and the Intercontinental Cup.
21. Taking the wheel
The epic story of how we beat PSG final trip… 😍
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 10, 2019
After serving as United’s reserve-team coach for a number of years, Solskjaer returned dwelling to Norway in 2010 to start his managerial profession with Molde, main his different former membership to their first-ever Norwegian championship in 2011 and retaining it the next yr.
Solskjaer left Molde in 2014 for a reasonably disastrous eight-month spell at Cardiff Metropolis which noticed him lose 16 of his 30 video games. He went again to Molde in October 2015 the place he bettered his win proportion (55.9%) from his first stint (54.7%)
He then returned to United as caretaker supervisor in December 2018 following the dismissal of Jose Mourinho at Outdated Trafford, the membership hoping that the return of a membership legend would assist dissipate the bitter temper that had engulfed the membership. Nevertheless, Solskjaer had solely simply signed a brand new contract with Molde a couple of weeks previous to agreeing to step into the breach at United — which appeared to go away him, briefly and confusingly, in control of two golf equipment on the similar time.
Solskjaer advised the Fotballklubben podcast 4 months into his caretaker reign: “I am unsure the way it works. I believe the [Molde] contract is expired and that I am now underneath contract with Manchester United.”
All of the legalities have been ultimately smoothed out, with the unique plan being for Solskjaer to spend a couple of months steadying the ship at Outdated Trafford earlier than returning to Molde for the beginning of the Eliteserien season. Nevertheless, issues went so effectively on the Pink Devils straight out of the gate that his return ticket by no means did get stamped, with a everlasting three-year contract at United following in March 2019. This got here after a run of 10 wins in 13 within the league, and a stunning comeback victory against Paris Saint-Germain within the Champions League,
22. Document thus far
As we head into the 2021-22 season, Solskjaer has been in cost for 132 first-team matches at United, 115 of which have come within the Premier League. Of these, Solskjaer has gained 54, drawn 30, and misplaced 31. After dropping his first 4 cup semifinals within the job, he got here closest to touchdown his first silverware as United boss within the 2020-21 Europa League last, solely to lose to Villarreal in a penalty shootout in Gdansk. His greatest league end was additionally final season when he led United to second within the desk, ending 12 factors behind champions Manchester Metropolis.
23. Factors on the board
Since Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s first recreation as Man United supervisor, solely Man Metropolis (221) and Liverpool (217) have picked up extra PL factors than United’s 180 🔴 pic.twitter.com/Ulqmk3kZfJ
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) July 24, 2021
Since Solskjaer’s first recreation as United supervisor, a 5-1 destruction of his former membership, Cardiff Metropolis on Dec. 22, 2018, solely Liverpool and Manchester Metropolis have picked up extra Premier League factors. Each of these golf equipment have been topped Premier League champions within the three seasons which have prevailed since — twice in Metropolis’s case.
24. Deep pockets
It ought to be famous that Solskjaer has spent massive to signal gamers in that point too, with United ploughing over £300m into bolstering their squad. Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Donny van der Beek, Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles are among the many names to reach at Outdated Trafford for huge sums for the reason that January market opened up in 2019, with Jadon Sancho‘s £73m arrival this summer season the most important outlay of the lot. The approaching arrival of Raphael Varane from Real Madrid prone to push that whole up by as a lot as one other £41m.
25. Legacy assured
Of all gamers to have made 10+ appearances in a single Premier League season, Solskjaer has the best goals-per-minute ratio ever recorded, having averaged a aim each 71 minutes through the Treble-winning season of 1998-99. Gareth Bale managed a aim each 84 minutes within the Premier League for Tottenham in 2020-21 however that’s the closest anyone has come to usurping Solskjaer, whose legacy as a Manchester United and Premier League is assured it doesn’t matter what the long run holds for him at supervisor at Outdated Trafford.