Given my stance as one of the more vocal members of the contingent who supported Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s project, it’s only fitting that I share my thoughts as we close the final page of his tenure.
As a member of the Stretty News family, we share an identical belief that supporting the manager of Manchester United takes precedence over anything else. It is through this support that we each cultivate our unique perspective and this is how engagement, as fans, is supposed to be. Healthy, progressive conversations ultimately support a fan base to live in unison with one another.
Unfortunately, as has been the case for the majority of the Norwegians variegated tenure, the fanbase has seen an unprecedented split and daily debates on nonsensical topics have reigned supreme.
Contrary to what many people would have you believe, there has been much value in Solskjaer’s time at the club. Few will argue against today’s decision, but it’s incredibly important to recognise the good work that has been done. Disregarding this is simply an act of partisanship and adding fuel to an already unnecessary argument.
His time at the club was far from perfect and there was ample evidence of him learning on the spot. Acknowledging that, I’m simply dumbfounded when I see cries of nepotism toward his appointment, however. The club was at an all-time low in the Premier League, the squad disenchanted & a distinct separation between team and supporters. He was brought in to settle this and restore harmony to the football club.
Not only did he achieve the primary task appointed, but he also set a record for points achieved by a new manager in the Premier League. Perfectly valid points, such as this, are often tossed aside and deemed somehow irrelevant when discussing the Norwegians tenure. This scenario, while typical of our ill-educated hierarchy, was nothing about nepotism; it was the result of hard work and legitimate results on the football field.
Much has been made about his selection philosophy and loyalty toward underperforming players. Say what you will about his time as manager, there’s nobody who could actually accuse Solskjaer of making decisions that he genuinely believed were not correct for the club, without having to hold in a cheeky grin. For whatever reason made, the end goal was for the overall benefit to the team at that time.
He’s continued the club’s proud youth traditions by handing 1st team debuts to 17 academy players. As well as that, he’s assembled one of the youngest squads in the Premier League and fortified the foundations for perennial success. Whatever manager should inherit this squad will certainly be pleased and ultimately understand that the time spent was not in vein.
As I’ve said, it wasn’t always perfect on the field and the heartbreaking night in Gdańsk was a sobering reminder of such. However, Solskjaer oversaw the longest undefeated away streak in Premier League history. As well as this, he also achieved the club’s highest consecutive Premier League finishes since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
He leaves the club with a win success rate of 54.17%, seeing the Norwegian third in the all-time list of Manchester United’s managers – only behind José Mourinho (58.33% ) and Sir Alex Ferguson (59.67%). Despite a lack of return of silverware, a notable achievement for a man that was always deemed out of his depth.
Everybody is entitled to their opinion on the great man. For me, he’s taken an opportunity that was presented at a time that he would not have expected. Throughout his tenure, he was calm, enthusiastic and always remained dignified in adversity. He endured many difficult moments and was subjected to daily ridicule by so many media outlets. Despite the torment he faced, he never once looked to blame his players.
His time as Manchester United manager may be over, but his name will forever be sung. As a supporter, I can only thank him for his time and efforts. As I’ve said, it is the correct decision at the correct time and I wish Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the very best for the next chapter of his life. Nothing has changed, he is still one of us and remains a legend of this great