Solskjaer leaves Manchester United to coach Molde


Associated Press

Posted on November 9, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 9 at 2:05 PM

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ended a 14-year association with Manchester United on Tuesday when he agreed to move back to his home country as coach of Norwegian club Molde.

The 37-year-old Solskjaer, who scored United's injury-time winner in the 1999 Champions League final, signed a contract with a yearly salary of 2.4 million Norwegian kroner ($410,000), plus marketing income.

Solskjaer is quitting his job as coach of United's reserves and will begin his new job Jan. 10. Solskjaer, who has three children, said family reasons were the main factor in his decision to return to the club where he played for 18 months before joining United in 1996.

Solskjaer arrived at Old Trafford as a youthful-looking striker and quickly became a fan favorite for his knack of scoring quickly as a substitute — earning the nickname "the Baby-Faced Assassin."

He scored 128 goals in 367 matches, including one against Bayern Munich in United's 2-1 Champions League final win. The same year, he scored four goals in 10 minutes after coming on a substitute in an 8-1 Premier League win over Nottingham Forest.

He retired to a coaching role in 2007 after failing to recover from a knee injury.

"He's been a fantastic servant, and he's contributed to the development of our young players," Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said in a statement. "I think that his career as an outstanding professional footballer gave him a foundation to get into coaching. He's had a great introduction with our reserves and this is the right time for Ole to take up his first managerial position."

Solskjaer's colleagues from Manchester United — Mark Dempsey and Richard Hartis — will accompany him to Molde as his assistants. The club has won the Norwegian league title twice but finished 11th this season.

Solskjaer said he was confident that next year will be big for the club, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2011.

"It will be a year of celebrations and the team is certain to win titles," Solskjaer said. "This is a dream job. I discussed my future career with Sir Alex Ferguson and he advised me to choose a club where there are people that you would like to work with. The choice was therefore easy.

"After 14 years in Manchester, I look forward to coming home to Molde."