'You make me happy, when skies are grey'
Manchester United fans absolutely adore Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Sunday’s club statement was met by a tidal wave of emotion from supporters and anybody who is on social media could see an outpouring of love for a man who has given everything for our club.
There was a common theme in the posts: that this is an outstanding human being, with an extraordinary amount of class, who carried himself in the best way possible, win, lose or draw.
“He loves the club, he is a fantastic person and we all know that,” Denis Irwin told me before our flight to Spain. “As an ex-player and having played with him for many years, I know exactly what kind of character he is and he gave absolutely everything. Unfortunately, in the end, it didn’t work out.
“But he can go with his head held high. He came into the job, it was a bit fractious at the time, and he pulled everyone together and he deserves a break now. I wish him all the very best for the future and he will always have an eye out for United, there is no doubt about that.”
It did not work out in the end, but Ole’s standing among fans remains unblemished and, if anything, he might have become even more popular following his efforts as manager. That’s because he gave it absolutely everything and, when the dust settles, I believe his era will be remembered fondly.
Notably, Solskjaer’s farewell interview with club reporter Stewart Gardner was his own idea, because he wanted to address the supporters with whom he shares a special bond. It was without question a difficult experience for him because the emotions were still very raw, but it was important to him.
It was also a challenging watch for us fans, too, and the little details struck a chord with me, like the fact he was wearing civilian clothes and not his usual club wear.
Then there was that moment…
A clip of Ole almost breaking down into tears went all around the world and only highlighted how much our club means to him. It's a measure of the man that, at that time in the interview, he was graciously wishing our caretaker manager Michael Carrick and the players well against Villarreal.
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Of course, Manchester United is a train that stops for nobody and the club has already moved onwards, with a Champions League match against Villarreal, but Solskjaer will always remain a beloved figure in our storied history.
That was absolutely evident in Spain on Tuesday, too.
There were around 3,000 travelling Reds inside the vibrant Estadio de la Ceramica and it was clear they were determined to honour Ole right from the start, with chants of ‘You are my Solskjaer’ and ‘Who put the ball in the Germans’ net?’ booming out of the defiant away end.
“We love Ole and especially what he has done for the club,” said Zayn from Heald Green in Manchester, shortly after the win.
“We had the chants tonight from the start. He is always in our thoughts and always in our hearts. That interview, when he was talking emotionally at the end, it was heart-breaking. But, do you know what, he took us to where he needed to, he did the rebuild and now it is just onwards and upwards from here. Hopefully there are more European nights like this to look forward to as well and we can say thanks to Ole for that, for rebuilding the squad.”
Whether Solskjaer was watching the game at home in Norway remains to be seen, but it would not surprise anybody to learn he did because he remains a Red.
Hopefully, somewhere in Kristiansund, Ole heard the chants and was reminded of his standing among our fans.
All together now: "You are my Solskjaer..."