There’s something odd about SAF and OGS managerial beginnings at Manchester United.

Abdel Rahman El Beheri
3 min readMay 10, 2021


OGS and SAF at the Camp Nou 2019.

I finished watching Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In 2 days ago. I had a very weird and a little bit scary feeling after it. I couldn’t help but see an image form in front of my eyes while watching. I saw the current Manchester United in the Manchester United of 1986–90 that Sir Alex Ferguson took over.

The parallels between what happened with Sir Alex Ferguson and Ole Gunnar Solskjær is uncanny — frankly scary.

First Parallel

SAF said in the documentary that he wanted to restore the club’s values and soul. He wanted to go back to The Busby Way (DNA). He started with the youth. “The youth was the proper way, the spirit of the club, a new spirit”, he said. It was abandoned before SAF and the standards were on the floor.

In his notes, he started reforming the youth academy, and hired scouts all across England. He learned that a young boy called “Ryan”, who was a United fan, was training in City’s academy because United’s academy was so bad.

SAF also iterated how worried he was about the long term success of the club. Does this all remind you of something that happened in the last 2 years under Solskjær?

“I am a long term plan manager.”

Second Parallel

However, Fergie knew, it was all well and good building for the future but you need results NOW for the first team. In his first few seasons, the losses compounded and the team lacked confidence and cohesion. They were a broken team.

This is when calls for Fergie’s head started. “FergieOut” was chanted all over. The abuse began as well. Imagine Sir Alex Ferguson getting calls at his house, calls to his family members, saying: “Get out of our club.”, “You’re f**king useless.”, “Go back to f**king Scotland”, “Bored stiff with Fergie’s football”….

Remind you of anything?

Third parallel

The best Goalkeeper conundrum, Jim Leighton. At the time, Jim was considered one of, if not, the best goalkeepers in Europe. He helped SAF win the European Cup with Aberdeen. SAF brought him with him to United. Jim started losing confidence and made mistake after mistake. SAF was scrutinized for persisting with his loyalty to Jim and standing by him, until SAF’s hand was forced. SAF dropped Jim in the FA Cup final (replay) as he costed him goals in the 3–3 draw of the first try — yes, they played the final twice as they drew the first time.

This story remind you of anyone?

Final thoughts

There are more and more parallels as you digest more into both SAF and OGS’s careers. For example:

  1. The resemblances between Eric Cantona and Bruno Fernandes and their effect.
  2. SAF won his first trophy and final with United at age of 48. OGS is in his first final with United at age 48.
  3. And more…

In any case, these are just parallels that I thought were really uncanny, weird, exciting and, at the same time, scary. In no way, I am saying OGS will be the second SAF or he will have a similar success — although I wish he will be as successful — but you can’t help but notice the resemblances in the story line. History does repeat itself — I believe so at least.

Will Manchester United and Manchester United fans see Fergie like glory under Ole Gunnar Solskjær?

We’ll just have to wait and see…..

PS: If Ole wins Europa, it will be his first trophy as a United manager at the age of 48, just like SAF. Although, SAF won his first trophy after 3.5 years in charge and OGS’s will be after 2.5 years.

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