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Opinion

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer unrepentant after cheating Newcastle United…

2 months ago
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will never be forgiven by the Newcastle United fans who were there.

Now over 23 years later, the Man Utd manager says he would probably do the same thing again.

Even though he recalls that afterwards he got the ‘hairdryer’ treatment from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer unrepentant after cheating Newcastle United out of a win at Old Trafford.

It was 18 April 1998, the fifth last Premier League game of the season, Man Utd playing for the title while Newcastle United were in lower mid-table – Kenny Dalglish having wrecked Kevin Keegan’s legacy.

With a minute to go at Old Trafford, Newcastle United surprisingly found themselves drawing 1-1, thanks to an early Anders Andersson(!!) goal that had been levelled by a David Beckham strike.

Suddenly, Rob Lee found himself racing towards the Man Utd penalty area on a long run from the halfway line, only Peter Schmeichel standing between him and the winning goal, which would be the first NUFC win at Old Trafford in 26 years.

As Rob Lee neared the penalty area and with no chance of (legally) stopping him before the Newcastle midfielder entered the box, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cynically hacked him down from behind, the last chance before it would have been a penalty.

The sense of injustice was immense!

Yes, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got sent off, it was the most obvious red card ever seen, even Uriah Rennie couldn’t fail to give it.

Yes, Newcastle United got a free-kick, but predictably that didn’t produce the winning goal.

It had been such a rubbish season for NUFC, give or take the odd 3-2 win over Barcelona, and for probably 95% or more of that away end, they hadn’t been there in 1972 for the last previous Newcastle win at Old Trafford.

It was the first and last time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be sent off for Man Utd and I can understand why their fans loved him for doing it.

However, I and thousands of others who were there in the away end that day, will never forgive or forget!

Rob Lee had arrived at Newcastle United in 1992 as a very clever winger with pace but by the time of the match in question in 1998, he was a 32 year old central midfielder with not quite that same pace, or else Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would never have caught him, whether fairly or foully.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talking to the official Man Utd site:

“Oof. I wouldn’t ask any of my players to do it, because the hairdryer I got after the game, and the reasoning why he [Sir Alex Ferguson] gave it to me, is a valid one.

“With Man United, you don’t want to win that way. It’s not the way we do things. The fans loved it though!

“I’d probably do it again though, because I don’t think I’d want to change anything in my career because I don’t think I’d be sat here now then.

“Whatever little decision you make has a consequence on the next. But… I’d do the same.

“I did it for the right reasons, and that was that I was only thinking about my team-mates and the team.

“We lost the league by one point that season and there were two minutes to go before full-time when we needed to get back up the other end and win the game.”

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