How being Molde manager shaped Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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Subscribe to our channel: being Molde manager shaped Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. In the reception area at Molde’s Aker Stadium, the club’s bubbly secretary Heidi Rindaroy is rapidly into her stride.

‘I hear our Ole has been treating Kath, the Manchester United receptionist at Carrington, to some Norwegian chocolates,’ she says. ‘So I better put my request in for some British shortbread.

‘But that is Ole. He treats us all equally. He bought me some excellent red wine as a Christmas present.’

Solskjaer’s charm and affable presence is the overriding narrative at Manchester United since he arrived almost a month ago.

After the snarl of Jose Mourinho, Solskjaer’s smile has lifted the mood and seen United record five wins and score 16 goals in five matches ahead of Sunday’s visit to Tottenham.

In his home country, the adoration of Solskjaer grows. ‘In Norway, there is the Pope and then it’s Ole,’ chuckles former Norway manager Age Hareide. ‘He is our most famous sportsman but this is new ground even for him.’

This is only a six-month agreement but for Solskjaer, 45, it is the opportunity of a lifetime. One friend admits that Solskjaer feared he was finished in English football after a dismal period at Cardiff.

Ole Olsen, Solskjaer’s former boss at first club Clausnengen, says: ‘He would like the job. He texted me after the Huddersfield match, saying, “I’m back home”.

‘You need downs to get up. The ownership in Cardiff was different. At United, he knows the canteen staff, the washing ladies, everyone. It is easier for him. You never know with this boy. As a player, he took the stage in Manchester. He will do the same again.’

Solskjaer’s reputation as a player is legendary, but there was a time when his presence raised eyebrows at Old Trafford. United were actually scouting defender Ronny Johnsen during a Norway game against Azerbaijan in 1996 but Solskjaer stole the show by scoring a brilliant volley. 

When he arrived at Old Trafford to sign his contract, a tour guide looked non-plussed and asked who he was.

Rune Edoy, a local journalist who has known the Solskjaer family for over 20 years, recalls: ‘United presented Ole, Karel Poborsky, Jordi Cruyff and Ronny Johnsen together. 

‘Cruyff was the star. All four were presented together. Nobody asked a question to Ole and nobody asked Ferguson about Ole.’

Cruyff remembers the United dressing room being instantly impressed. ‘His shooting was like a computer game. Press the button, turn the joystick and it always goes into the corner. Unbelievable.’

After a goal-laden start, Solskjaer’s finishing touch was compared in Sportsmail’s pages to that of the great Denis Law and in 1999 he inscribed his name into United folklore with that winning goal in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

Solskjaer scored 126 goals for United and from 2000, took notes on his own training performance and every session run by Ferguson and assistants Steve McClaren and Carlos Queiroz.

When Solskjaer informed his manager of his intention to retire in 2007, Ferguson offered him a coaching role within two minutes. For three years, Solskjaer relished working under Ferguson. He coached United’s strikers in the final months of their 2007-08 double-winning campaign and then spent two years as reserve team coach, where he worked with Paul Pogba.

He is a rare example of a man cherished by both Ferguson and Roy Keane. He is said to be one of only of a handful of players who had Keane’s number during the Irishman’s fraught final season at United and the families remain close.

In 2010, Solskjaer returned to Molde as manager. ‘If United are an ocean liner, Molde are a rowing boat,’ quips one friend. Managing director Oystein Neerland is honest. 

‘We do not buy players for £100million,’ he says. ‘Molde’s main street — our only street — is 300 metres long with a few shops. The

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