Cardiff City’s newly appointed manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer is well remembered for his flourishing playing career in the Premier League with giants Manchester United, but in recent seasons he has proved to be just as successful a manager.
Retiring from the game as a player in August 2007, there are of course a variety of ways to improve and cultivate your coaching acumen. For Solskjaer, he initially took up a coaching role under former boss Sir Alex Ferguson before taking charge of United’s Reserve team and guiding them to the Premier Reserve League crown in 2009-10.
It set up a first role as manager the following season, joining former club Molde FK in Norway where he had spent 18 months of his playing career before joining United in 1996. In that time, the 67 time capped Norwegian International scored a staggering 31 goals in 42 appearances – form that ultimately alerted United and saw him arrive at Old Trafford.
Returning to Molde as manager proved to be a challenge the former frontman would relish, guiding the Norwegian side to their first ‘Tippeligaen’ title in their 100 year history in 2011 before impressively retaining the crown the following year.
Solskjaer has been a revelation back in his native Norway since taking charge at the Aker Stadion and last year added a domestic cup honour to his ever expanding list of managerial honours as Molde beat Rosenborg 4-2 to take the Norwegian Football Cup in November.
Fondly nicknamed ‘the baby faced assassin’ by United fans for his goalscoring exploits, Solksjaer is well accustomed to success and honours, winning six Premier League titles during his stint at Old Trafford with two FA Cup triumphs also to his name.
But it is perhaps the 1999 UEFA Champions League triumph that was arguably his crowning glory. Coming on as an 81st minute substitute, his winning goal three minutes into stoppage time saw United beat Bayern Munich 2-1 and claim Sir Alex Ferguson’s first success in the competition.
It was a goal that completed a remarkable turnaround at the Nou Camp that saw the Reds score twice in added time to claim the victory in the most dramatic of fashions. It was just one of 128 goals scored in all competitions for the Old Trafford club during his 11-year spell as a player, also making over 350 appearances in that time.
Now, Solksjaer arrives to take charge of his first Premier League club in South Wales hoping to make as impressive an impact at the Cardiff City Stadium, with well wishers across the Premier League, in South Wales and his native Norway urging him to become a success as manager of the Bluebirds.
In doing so, Solksjaer becomes only the fourth Norwegian to take charge of an English league club, following Egil Olsen at Wimbledon in 1999, Stale Solbakken at Wolves in 2012 and former United team mate Henning Berg at Blackburn Rover the same year.