Five things we learned from our Ole interview
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's MUTV interview as part of the 'Past, Present & Future' series providing some valuable insight into his life at Manchester United. We decided to pick out five of the things we learned from the documentary, which is available to watch now on demand at MUTV.com.
LIVERPOOL WERE INTERESTED
The striker attracted attention with his form for Molde and things could have turned out very differently for the 22-year-old.
“There were a few clubs watching me,
“ he said. ”At the time it was said Bayern Munich, PSV Eindhoven and Liverpool, I think, were interested. Perugia and Cagliari, a few Italian clubs had shown interest, but there were never any offers. Actually, Manchester United’s was the first offer Molde got for me and that was it.”
FOLLOWING HIS FATHER
Although not taking up the same sport as his father, Oyvind, Ole picked up several of his traits.
“Dad was a wrestler,” he said.
“Quite a good one, apparently. So he says. I never wanted to be a professional. My goal as a footballer was never to be a professional player, I just wanted to play for my local team. My dad was Norwegian wrestling champion between 1966 and 1971 and I think I got a bit of his mentality. He has a hard-working man, a humble man, and he didn't have to scream and shout very loud.
”He's told me a few stories of when he went with the Finnish, Swedish and other wrestlers, he always let them beat him in the practise sessions. When he got to the finals, he beat them! Maybe I was a little bit the same. I was a nice character and a nice lad but, when the game started, one thing mattered and that was winning. I had the eye of the tiger. I wasn't as nice on the pitch as I am off it.
CHALLENGING ALEX FERGUSON
There came a time when the Norwegian was not happy with being left out of a game against Chelsea. He told the manager about his frustration and ended up starting and scoring in the game.
“I never had a run-in with Sir Alex but once he got all four strikers together and said me and Coley [Andy Cole] played in the game against Southampton and we were playing Chelsea on the Monday. He said all four strikers have played a lot and I want to start Teddy [Sheringham] and Yorkie [Dwight Yorke], is everyone okay with that? The other three nodded so I let them go out of the office and I said: ‘No, I can’t have that’. This was because, earlier, he’d challenged me that he was going to sign Ruud [van Nistelrooy] and wanted to know could I play many games on the bounce.
”I said here’s your chance. I scored and did well and, after one day’s recovery, you can see me play two games in three days. He said: ‘Okay, son. You’re right’. So I had to go and pick Teddy up - the gaffer wants to see you and it was Ole’s playing, sorry. I scored a good goal and I think I proved to the gaffer I was a Manchester United player. Not just on the pitch but off the pitch. My mentality was you challenged me and I’ve challenged you back. It worked.”
KEANO ONE OF HIS BEST PALS IN FOOTBALL
Roy Keane may have a fearsome reputation in some quarters but the former skipper was well respected by his colleagues. Ole remains friendly with the Irishman and has enormous respect for both Sir Alex and the ex-Reds midfielder.
“I still remember the training session when it happened [he said of the injury that forced him to retire]. I went straight to hospital, had a scan and realised it had gone again. On the way back, I was so not looking forward to seeing the gaffer. He comes out as I'm parking and asks: 'How are you, son?' I replied: 'Not too good. I need another operation and I can't be bothered. I've got to quit.' I had 15-20 seconds of some of the best praise I've ever had, one of my best moments I've had, my shoulders just went down and he said: 'You can become one of my coaches. Take time off first but then become my forward coach. It was such a relief. I felt I was letting him down by retiring but I had to and there was no other way. The words he gave me then were just so nice.
”So it was emotional [saying farewell at Old Trafford]. That's not me whatsoever but going out against Sunderland to get that send off, the club wanted it, and it was a nice moment. If I'd decided, I would have just announced it on a bit of paper and that is it. Keano was there. He was manager of Sunderland and one of my better mates in football and one I've probably got the most respect for. I played with such an unbelievable leader of a group so, for me, that was fitting. Roy was there and the gaffer was there. Two people who meant so much to me and in front of all the supporters.
ANOTHER SOLSKJAER UP FRONT?
Ole says his 17-year-old son Noah could end up being a professional player too and he was pleased he was able to come back from injury when his first child was old enough to remember watching him play.
“After being out for two years with injury and winning the league in 2007, that was the best one,” he said.
“Noah remembering his dad at seven years of age, as a champion with Manchester United, tops the list for me.
”There you go, son, your dad did okay, My dad was a wrestler but he finished before I was born. I don't want to be a dad who tells Noah your dad used to be a winner, you know. I needed him to see it.
“[For Noah now], it's just do your best and don't worry whatever your dad was. If he wants to play football, I'm sure he's mentally tough enough to handle it. He's miles better than what I was at the same age and miles bigger! He's 6ft 1in and has grown past me. He's got a chance.”