Manchester United’s Reserve team manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has decided to accept the offer to become manager of Molde, and this is the right move for him to take in his young managerial career.
After a long battle with a knee injury brought his magnificent playing career to a premature end, Solskjaer stepped right into a coaching role at United, because Sir Alex Ferguson was always aware of his uncanny leadership abilities to make it as a manager in the modern game.
Like he did throughout his remarkable 11-year career with United, the Norwegian served the role with great enthusiasm and willingness, and led the Reserves to no fewer than four trophies since 2008.
Molde was always going to hold a special place in the Baby-Faced Assassin’s heart, because it was the club where he propelled himself to stardom as a player, so when the positioned opened up, Solskjaer was always going to be on their wishlist.
Even though, he is leaving for another club, Ole, who is a legend amongst the United supporters for his commitment and performances on the field, could very well be considered to be a manager a club down the road.
This is not the first time that a young, aspiring Reserve team manager has been encouraged by Sir Alex to go spread his wings, either.
Rene Meulensteen, who currently serves as the First Team coach, originally joined the club in August of 2001 teaching in the United Youth Academy.
The Dutchman was then appointed to take on the responsibilities of the Reserve team in December of 2005 after Ricky Sbragia left to join Ferguson’s good friend, Sam Allardyce, at Bolton Wanderers.
Meulensteen instilled his very regimented technical development program in the Reserves, which help lead them to an impressive overhaul of trophies – FA Premier Reserve League Shield, the Premier Reserve League North and the Manchester Senior Cup – in the 2005/06 season.
Unsurprisingly, a managerial offer came in for Rene to become the manager of Brøndby IF at the conclusion of that season, and even though it was very lucrative, he thought twice about turning it down.
United has never been known as a well-paying club for their top players, and the same is true about the coaching staff as well, so it was .
However, in a meeting with Sir Alex, he was persuaded by the Gaffer to accept the position and broaden his awareness and vision to see what it takes to be a manager at a football club.
Meulensteen took the reigns of the Danish Superliga club, but only last six months in the role, because he saw some telling signs that Brøndby had a long, tough journey ahead of them with the questionable involvement of Anders Bjerregaard, who was the son of the Director.
Rene then rang Sir Alex to tell him about his decision, and reasons why he left the Danish club, which were later revealed as, “a very sick patient requiring immediate attention.”
Fortunately for him, Ferguson was forced to reshuffle his coaching staff following the departure of Carlos Queiroz, and with the appointment of Mike Phelan to be his No. 2 assistant, he had an opening for him as the First Team Coach at United – which was also resulted in a significant pay raise from his previous tenure at the club.
With his playing career at United all but over, Gary Neville should take a hard, long look at becoming a player-manager with the Reserve team – if the offer is true.
Neville, along with Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, has never hid his ambition to eventually become football manager.
Having already secured the necessary coaching badges, Gary should be qualified to accept this position – if Sir Alex deems him fit to be a manager.
The United boss has admitted that Gary has the passion to become a successful manager, but he also thinks that never-say-die mentality could also get him in a lot of hot water as well.
Even though he will be forever-remembered for the game-winning goal against Bayern Munich in the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League final, there was another goal that Ole scored that same season, which should be on level pegging in the hearts of the United supporters.
In the FA Cup, United were being left frustrated, and losing 1-0 to a second-class Liverpool team, and after Dwight Yorke scored the equalizer, moments later Solskjaer scored the match-winner against them, which was very symbolic of his United career.
The goal was a typical poacher’s finish, and the celebration against his boyhood club in front of the Stretford End was breath-taking to say the least.
After coolly slotting the ball home under immense pressure – and with his “weaker” left-foot, he peeled away and gabbed the United badge on his shirt to celebrate in front of his adoring fans, by saying, “See, I am one of you now!”
Now matter where he goes and what he accomplishes in his managerial career, all of the Manchester United supporters wish Ole Gunnar Solskjaer him success, and will hope that he comes back to Old Trafford in the future.
(Editor’s note: The information attained in regard to the Rene Meulensteen was a conversation that I had with him during the Tour 2010 in Houston.)