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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leaving United to manage Molde FK

The great Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is leaving Manchester United next January to manage Molde FK in the Tippeligaen, which is Norway’s top division, after spending 14 years at the club. Solskjaer had joined Manchester United from the same Molde in 1996, after playing 42 games for Molde and scoring 31 goals. The Baby-Faced Assassin, as he got nicknamed at United, had played 366 games for Manchester United in which he scored 126 goals, over 11 seasons between 1996 and 2007. In 2007, Solskjaer moved into coaching at the same club, coaching the strikers department in the 2007/08 season. Then in May 2008, he was appointed manager of the Manchester United Reserves and won the 2007/08 Lancashire Senior Cup against Liverpool. He was offered the position of Norway head coach, but he declined this on the basis that it was not yet his time to take that big step.

8 Jan 2000:  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United in action during the FIFA World Club Championships match against Vasco da Gama at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Mandatory Credit: Shaun Botterill /Allsport

The step into management was taken on the 9th November 2010, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signed a 4-year deal with Molde FK, his ex-team and a club just one hour away from his hometown Kristiansund. The Norwegian Premier League 2011 (Tippeligaen) begins in March 2011 and runs until November 2011. Solskjaer will take over the reins in January and by then, he will continue to manage the Manchester United Reserves. Solskjaer admitted that he was leaving the club with a heavy heart, both for the fans and for his mentor Sir Alex Ferguson, who was instrumental in his football career, and who suggested that he accepts this step into management. The interviews with both Sir Alex and Solskjaer himself can be read below. We hope that this opportunity provides Solskjaer with the first-team management experience needed to be successful, and maybe one day, he will return to manage Manchester United. It is without doubt his biggest dream for the future.

Sir Alex Ferguson

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talking with Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United at the UEFA Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday night Photo via Newscom

“Ole’s accepted the position in Molde and he leaves with our best wishes. He’s been a fantastic servant, and he’s contributed to the development of our young players.”

“I think that his career as an outstanding professional footballer gave him a foundation to get into coaching. He’s had a great introduction with our reserves and this is the right time for Ole to take up his first managerial position. Ole will do well at Molde FK and we wish him all the best for the future.”

“He feels it’s time to go back to Norway. It’s a good start for him and I’m sure he’ll do well.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 02:  Footballer Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with his presentation prior to his testimonial friendly match between Manchester United and Espanyol at Old Trafford on August 2, 2008 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“It’s a big, big step of course. It’s massively hard for me to leave United. I’ve told the manager as well; I think there was almost a tear in my eye when I said I want to go home. I’ve had an unbelievable time. I’ve had the best boss ever. I’ve played under him for 11 years, worked as a coach for three-and-a-half years now and I’ve learned a hell of a lot.”

“And with the supporters, the way they’ve treated me and everyone at Man United, they’ve treated me fantastically. But I’m not too far away, I can always come back and play some friendlies.”

“It feels good to go back to Norway. I’ve been away now for 14 and a half years. My family felt it was time to go home as well, and the opportunity to manage Molde was too good to turn down.”

“The conversations I’ve had with the gaffer in the last couple of weeks, he says he thinks it’s the right step for me in a management career and that was the go ahead for me. We’ve had a great relationship. He’s a fantastic boss and human being. He’s shown me how to treat human beings as they are, flesh and blood and not computer games. He knows what buttons to push with each and every individual.”

“No one will ever stay a manager at the biggest club in world football for so long again. What he said after [the Rooney saga], his experience; he can handle that situation and that’s the best management I’ve seen for ages and, for us coaches there [at United], we’re proud to work for him and that’s the bottom line of it.”

“I think anyone who’s played for Man United, if they’ve got ambitions in management, would like to manage United at one point, but as the manager said a couple of weeks ago, you need experience to be manager at that club. For me, this is the first step into management and maybe in 25 years time, maybe that’s the time.”

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