The Tippeligaen is the top flight of Norwegian football. For the past two decades one team has been at the very top of the class in the Scandinavian country.
Rosenborg BK of Trondheim went on a 13 year winning streak in the league from 1992 to 2004 and were also regular qualifiers for the Champions League during that period. Since then it has been slightly more mixed for the Norwegian giants who have won just three of the subsequent eight seasons as they still remain the most dominant overall force in the country; until now. Finishing runner-up to Rosenborg on five occasions in the past was Molde FK but last year they claimed their first ever national title. At the weekend they defended their crown becoming the first team apart from Rosenborg to achieve that feat since Valerenga’s successful defence in 1984.
The victory over Rosenborg last month all but sealed the trophy for MFK but victory over Honefoss at the weekend coupled with second placed Stromsgodset falling to lowly Sandes Ulf saw the team win the trophy once again.
The man behind it all is of course former Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Along with Stale Solbaken at Wolves and Ronny Delia at Stromsgodset he is emerging as one of many fine young Norwegian managers to emerge from the ‘golden era’ of Norwegian football. Finally stepping out from the likes of Egil Olsen and his authoritarian style are wiser, creative and knowledgeable football men who are daring to dream of future successes.
For Solskjaer however that now remains just that, a dream, and with good reason too. It was widely reported that the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ was offered the vacant managerial role at Aston Villa this summer but decided to remain with his club instead. He has since been linked with the vacant roles at both Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers, who instead made the strange appointment of fellow Norsemen Henning Berg at Ewood Park.
However for now he is reportedly keen to remain with his Norwegian troops and plans on taking them into the first round proper of the Champions League. It would be their first trip to that stage since the 1999-00 season and the first time a Norwegian side has made it into the Group Stages since 2007-08.
He faces a battle to keep several of his star players at the club. European sides are hawking for Magnus Wolf Eikrem, Vegard Forren and Knut Olav Rindaroy and keeping hold of such talent is vital to sustaining success for years to come. At the moment Solskjaer doesn’t seem keen on any one leaving the club including himself and at just 39-years-old there is plenty of time for him to make waves in England once again. He was famous for being a super-sub in the UK and now it seems he is still causing an impact from the bench but in a completely different capacity.
Watch Solskjaer celebrating victory over Rosenborg from last month in similar fashion to his Nou Camp slide and Fergie versus Sheffield Wednesday anyone...?
image: © CC-BY-SA