There’s no doubt that the 2021/22 Premier League season could be one of the most exciting in years.
The defending champions, Manchester City, looked peerless in their romp to the title, but they came unstuck on three separate occasions to Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, who showed their credentials by winning the Champions League. And who would be crazy enough to write off Liverpool, who will have the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez back from long-term injuries. They will be desperate to get back not winning ways, and you can sure that Jurgen Klopp will have the Reds well drilled.
All of which means that Manchester United are in danger of becoming the forgotten team, despite the fact that they finished second last season and reached the final of the Europa League.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a managerial novice, in some respects, but he will be well supported by the club’s owners in the transfer window – he will have to make that count if he is to establish a lasting legacy at Old Trafford.
Maybe that is why he has been so keen to reaffirm his friendship with Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary Manchester United manager who was in charge during the Norwegian’s silverware-laden spell as a player at the club.
Solskjaer invited Ferguson to travel with the team to Gdansk for that Europa League final against Villarreal, and the influential Scot sat down and chatted with a number of key United players ahead of the flagship occasion. When asked why he had offered an invitation to Ferguson, Solskjaer said: “I sat there thinking about this man, and what he’s done for the club. He’s a special man, he’s an encyclopedia of football.”
Even though the result went against them, the current Manchester United boss will have learned a lot from his predecessor, and that will stand him in good stead ahead of a big campaign for the club.
A Hard Act to Follow
David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and now Solskjaer. All have tried, but none has been able to remotely even begin to replicate the successes of Ferguson as Manchester United boss.
Thirteen Premier League titles in three different decades, two Champions League triumphs and five FA Cups were just some of the trophies that the Red Devils claimed during Ferguson’s tenure at the helm.
So revered is the Scot as a manager of people, he has been asked to give talks to students and academics about his techniques, and he was even filmed for a Netflix film titled ‘Secrets to My Success’.
The now 79-year-old is a popular after-dinner speaker and racehorse owner, and his successes on the pitch have followed him onto the track. Rock of Gibraltar, one of Ferguson’s investments, won seven straight Group 1 races and earned more than £1 million in prize money, while Clan des Obeaux has triumphed in the Punchestown Gold Cup and Aintree Bowl this year. He is the favorite in the ante post horse racing betting odds to win the King George VI Chase this December too.
Glory has followed Ferguson around in all his ventures, and some people just have a happy knack of delivering results in whichever field they choose to pursue.
Solskjaer will be hoping that some of that magic dust will have rubbed off on him heading into the new Premier League season…
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