In 2005, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became a patron of a Manchester United fans group who vehemently opposed an £800million takeover from the Glazers – Shareholders United.
“I am honoured,” he said. “I think it is important that the club remains in the right hands.
“I am absolutely on the supporters’ side and think the club is in very good hands as it is today. I am a United fan myself and only want what is best for the future.”
Had his Champions League winning goal in 1999 not earned him enough respect from fans then this cemented his place as a true Red.
However, the battle against the takeover, even with Solskjaer’s support, failed.
David Gill and Sir Alex Ferguson expertly managed to keep United’s success a constant right up until the day the Scot retired. But their absences and the lack of the old guard, the United way, slowly began to slip away.
That was until Solskjaer returned. Despite his lack of managerial expertise, the Norwegian managed to restore something none of his recent predecessors could – the United philosophy.
But what about his stance on the club’s owners, his bosses?
The Glazers’ ownership reached a nadir on Sunday when the club announced its intention to join the European Super League.
Chief executive Ed Woodward offered his resignation shortly after United’s U-turn which was something of a victory to the club’s fanbase.
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And even with United officially announcing their departure through a rather emotionless statement, the fans still aren’t happy.
On Thursday morning a group of supporters arrived at the club’s Carrington training base and blocked the entrances. Banners were held up with “51% MUFC”, in reference to calls for the Premier League to implement a Bundesliga-style 50+1 rule, and “Glazers Out”.
Solskjaer himself went and spoke to the fans who eventually left.
But before doing so, according to Red Issue, Solskjaer was asked by the fans why he doesn’t take a stand against the Glazers now as manager, in a far more powerful position, compared to when he was a player.
He replied: “Joel [Glazer] loves the club.”
His backing of the Glazers is a far cry from his 2005 self. Although, arguably, despite his more powerful position, it’s harder for Solskjaer to say something opposing the people who are now his bosses.
What it might just mean, though, is for the likes of Solskjaer and Michael Carrick to do their best like Ferguson once did and keep the United philosophy alive.
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