Solskjær: Expensive Manager or Money Magician?

Former Manchester United reserve manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær is now returning to old team Molde in a multi-million kroner deal. Some feel he has played an own goal, others are looking forward to new posts.

Former Manchester United reserve manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær is now returning to old team Molde in a multi-million kroner deal. Some feel he has played an own goal, others are looking forward to new posts.

Solskjær, who left Molde 14 years ago, is set to earn an average of 2.4 million kroner a year plus another 2 million from Aker ASA for celebrity endorsement rights, despite the club’s financial difficulties.


Beating Rosenborg will net him another million, but not everyone is dancing on the goal line.


“It’s obviously pointless to pay Solskjaer at least 4.4 million to train and run Molde. He is not worth it. A club like Molde with its financial problems should not pay a boss so much. It is strange that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did not even see this,” Editor Magne Lerø wrote in the weekly business publication Ukeavisen Ledelse.


However, Solskjær claims money is not the name of the game for him.


“I am not coming home for the money, I am coming home for the challenge,” Solskjaer told NRK.

Solskjaer signed the contract with Molde only after advice from by Sir Alex Ferguson, with whom he shares a special bond.


He trusted the experienced Scot’s advice and admitted he hopes to return one day to Manchester United as a manager.


“I am not ashamed of saying that if I enjoy management and that invitation came in 15 years time I would say yes. […]Everyone who has played for Manchester United dreams about it. Me, Ryan Giggs, Bryan Robson, Mark Hughes,” he told The Telegraph last week.

Criticism apart, though, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s name has already brought the Molde more sales revenue. Season tickets for 2011 have been on sale since 24 October, but the sales were slow before the official announcement of the new manager.


“We have sold around 2000 since it was Solskjær was announced as the new coach,” Molde ticket manager Lars Outzen told NRK.


According to reports from VG Professor Arild Hervik, an expert in football finance, believes fans and sponsors will quite happily open their wallets.


“I am not so sure this contributes to pay spiral [in football]. I think the market will easily consider the name very special and valuable […] But there is no doubt that he is one of the most famous Norwegians abroad, and in addition he has a reputation capital that many are willing to pay for,” he said.

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