Manchester United evoke the spirit of 99

Written by our guest writer, Gary Smith.

Forget about Pochettino and give Ole the gig NOW.

When Jose Mourinho left Manchester United in December the Reds fans must have been wondering what calamity would befall their once dominant club. Manager after manager has come and gone, from the much heralded David Moyes to the madcap antics of Louis Van Gaal. The sad truth is that Manchester United has simply failed to live up to the trophy laden years of the legend that is Sir Alex Ferguson.

However a mere 24 hours after the departure of `The Special One` United`s owners were about to pull off a shock appointment. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has legendary status at Old Trafford during his time as a Manchester United player under the guidance of Ferguson and Co, however this was possibly the riskiest move yet by the owners. Fortunately for everyone concerned the move from Molde has been, not to put a fine point on it one of the most genius appointments the Premier League has ever seen.

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Solskjaer made a startling start, ironically at his former club Cardiff City with a resounding 5-1 thumping. The Norwegian rookie had his homecoming on Boxing Day with a comfortable win over Huddersfield. Two easy games you might say to get your feet under the table?, but the wins never stopped there. Victories were mounting up including massive performances against Tottenham at Wembley and Arsenal at The Emirates.

Mourinho may have laid the ground work in the Champions League however it was now up to Solskjaer to take United into the Quarter final stage. A monumental struggle would appear though as they were beaten comfortably at Old Trafford by PSG. It seemed as though the wheels were ready to come off the juggernaut, that was until a famous old night in Europe on Wednesday night.

Romelu Lukaku is one of several players who were failing under the stewardship of Mourinho but he now finds himself flourishing under Solskjaer. The big Belgian forward opened the scoring early in Paris and hit his second of the night after an unusual howler from Buffon to give United the lead again. Two minutes into stoppage time and Marcus Rashford smashed home from 12 yards, despite a fortuitous penalty call from both the referee and VAR. United had pulled off the unthinkable and only 24 hours after the holders Real Madrid had sensationally also crashed out at home.

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Solskjaer`s most famous career goal came in the Camp Nou one sunny evening in May 1999.​ A glancing header from Teddy Sheringham and a flick of the leg that night to beat Bayern Munich and ensure that the baby faced assassin had delivered Fergie`s first European Cup for the club.

Now 20 years later with the final due to be hosted in Madrid at the home of Atletico is this a sign? Is it fate? is it meant to be? Or will United fall at the next hurdle? Whatever happens from now until Saturday 1st June 2019, the eyes of the football world will be firmly on this rejuvenated Manchester United side. Personally speaking I feel that the blue half of Manchester will be in the showpiece final, however maybe, just maybe we will be hearing chants of Ole from the stands of the Wanda Metropolitano.​

Gary Smith is a Freelance sports writer who has previously had stints at The Daily Record and Evening Times as well as NUFCfans. He is a massive sports fan and has played at Celtic Park as well as appeared in the Official Team photo for the Newcastle United team.

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