What Next For Solskjaer After Cardiff Catastrophe?

by Anthony Murphy / 19 September 2014, 12:54

In 2007 when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally sucumb to a knee injury that had plagued him for four years, he immediately took up a role of coaching Manchester United's forwards whilst he was studying for his coaching badges. This was a gentle and measured start to a managerial career from a player renowned for his studious observation of football. In the summer of 2008, he was appointed the manager of Manchester United's reserve side, soon after his appointment to the United reserve team job, he was offered the opportunity of replacing former Manchester City player, Age Hareide, as manager of Norway. Solskjaer shrewdly refused that job, believing he didn't have the requisite experience, favouring to stay with United until November 2010. He was then offered his first major job in management, succeding Manchester City legend Uwe Rosler at Molde, the club Solskjaer played for before signing for United in the summer of 1996.

Whilst Solskjaer had done sterling work at United and was highly regarded at Old Trafford by everybody at the club, it was at Molde that his burgeoning mangerial reputation took off. Under Solskjaer's stewardship, Molde won their first ever championship in his first season in charge and in the clubs own centenary season. To prove that this was no flash in the pan, Molde retained the title the following year.

Cardiff City, a proud club with a proud history, offered Solskjaer the managers job over the Christmas period of 2013. With the club in the Premier League, it was on the surface an offer of a good job. The major sticking point was Cardiff City are owned by Vincent Tan, a very polarising figure who has a vision of running a football club that could be described as unique and threatened the traditions and proud name of the Welsh club.

Tan had tried to change the clubs nickname, he succeded in changing the club's crest and worst of all, changed the colours from blue to red! Tan replaced Iain Moody as director of football at Cardiff with Alisher Apsalyamov, a 23 year old with no experience or even apparent knowledge of football. While Moody has since been discredited, it's was still an astonishing decision to make.

Recent revelations have (to put it mildly) cast Solskjaer's predecessor, Malky Mackay, in a light less flattering than the martyrd image presented at the time of his dismissal. That Solskjaer wanted to work in the Premier League is fair enough - he is a young and ambitious manager with plenty of good years of management ahead of him but to choose to work for a man as erratic as Vincent Tan suggested an unusually poor judgement from the usually very shrewd Norwegian.

A good start to this season for the Bluebirds has recently come undone. Cardiff haven't won in four games and this has hastened Solskjaers departure. Tony Pulis leads the way in the race to replace Solksjaer in the Welsh capital and the former Palace and Stoke boss is the 11/10 favourite, followed by Dundee boss Paul Hartley and former boss, Dave Jones.

As for Solskjaer, this isn't a fatal blow for the 41-year-old. Brian Clough was sacked by Derby County and Leeds United before leading Nottingham Forest to a League title and two European Cups. Solskjaer's former manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, had a turbulent early managerial career before settling at Aberdeen and breaking the Celtic and Rangers duopoly (along with Jim McLean at Dundee United). Solskjaer's next managerial manoeuvre is crucial. Get it wrong and he could be pontificating on couches in TV studios by the time he's 45. Get it right and it could be a mere blip in a very succesful mangerial career. Your move Ole...

Article written by Anthony Murphy from www.manutdfansblog.com, a big fan of Solksjaer and can be followed on Twitter @ManUtdfansblog.

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