Manchester United appoint Ole Gunnar Solksjaer as the caretaker manager until the end of the season; Mauricio Pochettino remains at the top of the long-term shopping list.
Blackburn, I think.
I’m sitting on the edge of the sofa, can of Carling in one hand, and the remote control in the other. My two-year-old son, Jude, is playing with Bob The Builder.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is through on goal, one on one with the keeper, I rise to my seat in expectation, he shoots, the ball thunders off the foot of the post.
And then a second voice.
It was Jude.
I couldn’t stop laughing. I picked him up and took him in the kitchen to show his Mum.
Then I rung my mate, Neil, and gave the phone to Jude.
I thought it was hilarious, but my mother wasn’t so keen when pushing him through Boots the following day.
“Fucking hell! Fucking hell! Fucking hell! Fucking hell!”
And I bet you a coconut, a candle and a cheap cigar that’s what Ole Gunnar Solksjaer said to his wife when he got off the phone to Ed Woodward earlier this week.
Manchester United’s Executive Vice Chairman called Solksjaer a club legend as he revealed that the Norwegian would take over the reins as Caretaker Manager until the end of the season.
And he is.
During 1996 – 2007, the $1.5m signing from Molde scored 126 times in 366 appearances from the club, culminating in the winning goal during the 1999 Champions League Final win over Bayern Munich.
Solskjaer retired due to a knee injury but remained at United where he took charge of the Reserve team before taking his first top dog job as the manager of Molde FC.
During his time at Molde FC, The Baby Faced Assassin led them to two league titles, and a League Cup triumph in his first three years at the club before Cardiff City lured him to the Premier League in January 2014. Solskjaer was unable to save the Welsh side from relegation, and they sacked him in September after a dismal start to their Championship campaign.
Solskjaer rejoined Molde FC and remains their full-time manager. The Norwegian league season is over, and his assistant Erling Moe takes charge of things until Solskjaer returns, and you have to think that he will return unless United go on to do something remarkable like winning the Champions League.
Solksjaer’s right-hand man will be Mike Phelan. The former United midfielder also managed the Reserve team before becoming Sir Alex Ferguson’s Assistant in 2008 and had five great years by his side until David Moyes cleared the decks during his arrival in 2014.
Phelan has been living in Australia where he is the Sporting Director at Australia’s Central Coast Mariners, the club that created a stir a few months back when Usain Bolt scored a brace when appearing for them in a friendly.
In the wake of Jose Mourinho’s sacking, the United board promised that the new man would understand the philosophy and culture of the club, and few are smeared in it more than Solskjaer and Phelan, and their appointments prove to the billions of lazy-arsed cynics in the world that dreams do come true.
Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna will also help with first-team coaching responsibilities.
In a strange twist of fate, Solskjaer’s first game in charge at United is a Premier League game at his old stomping ground, Cardiff on Saturday, before successive home games against Huddersfield and Bournemouth, and I can’t think of a better start for the man.
“Manchester United is in my heart, and it’s brilliant to be coming back in this role. I’m really looking forward to working with the very talented squad we have, the staff and everyone at the club,” said Solskjær.
He could have just said “Fucking Hell!”
The United board will take their time to find a successor, but press reports indicate there is only one man on their shopping list.
Here are the current odds.
Mauricio Pochettino – 4/1
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer – 4/1
Zinedine Zidane – 6/1
Massimiliano Allegri – 10.1
Laurent Blanc – 10/1
Antonio Conte – 14/1
Eddie Howe – 16/1