Sunday 7th April 2019
When Jose Mourinho said his less than fond farewell to the Old Trafford faithful in December of last year, most Man United fans agreed that the club needed a manager who was soaked in the traditions of English football’s most famous and well-supported club. Then, albeit on an interim basis, cometh the hour cometh the man. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a true hero among heroes at United and the fans were ecstatic about welcoming one their own into the managerial hot seat.
And it began well, oh so well! Victory followed victory and more importantly, those victories were won the old fashioned United way with style and panache. Paul Pogba returned to his imperious World Cup winning best and Marcus Rashford was once again the swaggering young talent that optimised his early career. The whole team was revitalised and a Top Four finish looked certain. Add in the well deserved away FA Cup wins against Arsenal and Chelsea and it was obvious – appoint Ole now on a permanent basis.
And so it came to pass that ‘the man who put the ball in the Germans net’ became United’s next full time, permanent manager. All was rosy at Old Trafford, PSG came, won, but were dispatched from the Champions League in Paris and the Reds were on there way back – or were they? A few weeks prior Arsenal had gained revenge for the FA Cup exit by schooling a full strength United team in a Premier League match but this was seen more as a sign of the Gunners resurgence under Unai Emery than anything amiss with Solskjaer’s regime.
So fast forward with the clocks to the start of April and a look at the League table sees United languishing in 6th place. They have been knocked out of the Cup by Wolves and their Parisian heroics have been rewarded with a quarter-final tie against Messi and Barcelona. Now anyone who knows the club’s history writes United off at theirr peril, but if they fail to produce another European miracle and are unable to beat Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea to a top four finish, then questions will be asked about the rush to appoint the hero of Nou Camp ’99. After all, they could have waited until the end of the season and only time will tell whether they should have done so.
Image: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers