Gary Nev on Ole's first day at United

MadDogg

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Ronaldo was the best player Sir Alex had. He was better then everything in almost anything. The fact that he scored 118 goals in 282 appearances is staggering especially since he to United as an 18 year old, he left prior to his prime and was played mostly playing on the flanks. Ruud only brought goals to the table. He was the typical goal poacher of the time, a selfish player who slept, woke up and lived thinking of goals. Most players in Sir Alex time brought more to table then Ruud did, Ole included. Both played during a time when the EPL was tougher then the one faced by Ole and both had a higher goal ratio then Ole did (0.68 for Ruud, 0.40 for Ronaldo, 0.34 for Ole)

Prior to Ole's arrival, Sir Alex wanted a top class goal poacher. He went for Batistuta and Shearer until he settled for Cole. Cole was a player ahead of his time. He brought far more to the table then the typical striker of the time whose life depended on how many goals he scored. Yet Sir Alex wasn't happy with that. In fact during the time he kept tabs on Batistuta, he tried to sign Marcelo Salas, if my information is correct he tried to get Fowler as well and then he signed Ruud. Still during the time when Ole was in his prime he refused to give the top job to him. Throughout his career Ole was also played as a RW and there was a time when he was on sale. That's not exactly how one of the finest finishers would be treated at a time when the manager wanted a world class goal poacher.

So I think there's a bit of a revision of history here. Which is quite human tbh. On one side you had RVN who was an A class cnut and Ronaldo left the club who was so instrumental to his success long before he hit his prime. On the other hand you have a top top professional who truly loved United, a guy whose so nice that even an ageing and sour Keane finds it impossible to say a bad word against. His main perk was his finishing. So its natural to look at Sir Alex Ferguson's successful history and pinpoint him rather then the latter as top of the class on this particular skill. People tend to like rewarding the good guys.

What I do believe is that Ole was the biggest team player and more intelligent of the lot. He was able to read the game without actually being in it and use his more limited skill set (vi's a vis Ronaldo) not only to be lethal up front but also to help his team mates in other areas like defending. Which kind of explains why his mates adored him.
I'm not really sure what any of this has to do with what I said. There are a lot of aspects to being a top goalscorer and Ruud and Ronaldo were obviously better in almost all of them. In a very broad sense, they were both quite a lot better at getting opportunities to score (using positioning, movement, speed, strength, etc), while Ole was slightly better at putting the chances that he did get in the back of the net.

Ronaldo developed the best off-the-ball attacking movement I've ever seen on a football pitch. He's one of the best aerially. He takes and scores a lot of long range shots. But his actual clinical finishing is worse than both Ruud and Ole. It's still world class and better than 99% of players, but those two were even better. Likewise Ruud was right up there competing to be the best striker in the world during his first three seasons with us. He was fantastic at getting chances to score and his finishing was absolutely brilliant. But Ole's was even better. He just wasn't as good at any other aspect of actual goalscoring.
 

stevoc

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Look we can agree to disagree and to be fair we're arguing on very small margins here. I mean we can all agree that RVN, Ole and Ronaldo were world class finishers in their own right. I hope that my post is not interpreted as criticism towards Ole as a finisher either. He was among the best we ever had. However I do like to give credit when its due. For example I think that Ole was one of the most intelligent strikers we had and a great team player . Its never easy for a player of relatively limited skill (when compared to the likes of Ronaldo) to come out of the bench and be immediately effective. If that's skill is rare then having a typical 90s goal poacher whose also altruistic and can understand the need to defend deep and close gaps when needed is as common as breathable oxygen in space. That is where, I believe, Ole deserves credit.
No problem at all mate, for clarity i wasn't necessarily saying i agreed with the others that Ole was the best finisher. If i had to choose one i would probably say Ruud was our best finisher under Fergie.

I don't rate Fowler that highly either and in my opinion we would have ended worse off with him around. Fowler wasn't just inferior to the likes of RVN, Shearer and Batigol but he was also an A Class cnut with a poisonous tongue. He was such a cnut that even Liverpool fans who knew him secretly hated it. At Liverpool he was tolerated mainly because he was a homegrown talent and one of their top players. However that would have changed with us especially with the likes of Keane and Schmeichel who tend not to take shit so lightly.

Let's say that Collymore wasn't the only bullet we dodged at the time.
Yeah he was never a top striker for me either, he had a great few years at the beginning when he broke through but could never replicate them later in his career. Never scored more than 20 goals a season after 20-21. I know Liverpool fans who still rave about him but if he was as good as they think they wouldn't have let him leave for Leeds at 24-25 years of age.
 

stevoc

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You say that, but he actually was first choice quite a lot in his earlier years. Regularly banging in 18, 19, 20 and even 28 goals per season. People forget that.
He scored 19 in 96/97, 18 in 98/99 (when he definitely wasn't first choice) and 25 in 01/02 (his best season for United imo). Outside of those seasons he never got more than 15. So yes he racked up good goal tallies some years but they were sporadic over his United career.

I'm a massive Solskjaer fan, but i stand by my opinion that Ferguson never seen as first choice material.
 

SteveJ

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It's interesting how fans of different clubs view their most famous players - for example, whenever I see a discussion about Fowler on Liverpool forums, they see him as an absolutely astonishing striking talent and, arguably, the best PL forward ever. You'd think they were discussing the genius of a Mozart or someone similar.
 

thepolice123

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It's interesting how fans of different clubs view their most famous players - for example, whenever I see a discussion about Fowler on Liverpool forums, they see him as an absolutely astonishing striking talent and, arguably, the best PL forward ever. You'd think they were discussing the genius of a Mozart or someone similar.
Their nickname for him was "God". Let that sink in.
 

DRM

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It's interesting how fans of different clubs view their most famous players - for example, whenever I see a discussion about Fowler on Liverpool forums, they see him as an absolutely astonishing striking talent and, arguably, the best PL forward ever. You'd think they were discussing the genius of a Mozart or someone similar.
Fans more often than not haven an emotional connection with players, certainly more in the past than now. Its more about special moments they associate with players.

Take cantona for example, not once did he score more than 20 league goals for us (nor in fact during his entire playing career) yet most united fans would have him in their all time top 11 and consider him as the best striker that's played for us.

Now i'm not saying Fowler had the same impact Cantona did for us but I can certainly understand why liverpool fans rate him so highly. Remember, this was a 19 year old who scored over 30 goals in his 1st full season at Liverpool. Imagine Rashford or Greenwood having that sort of impact.
 

Maticmaker

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There may be doubts about Solskjaer being the best finisher for United, but surely that goal against Bayern in 1999 to win the treble was the evidence that he is our most legendary striker? Has any United player in the whole history of the club scored a more important goal than that, at the right time and he had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes?
Solskjaer may not have been the most prolific scorer or scored spectacular goals but he had that priceless quality in a striker, being in the right place, at the right time, and being able to finish when it really mattered.
 

Jonno

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He scored 19 in 96/97, 18 in 98/99 (when he definitely wasn't first choice) and 25 in 01/02 (his best season for United imo). Outside of those seasons he never got more than 15. So yes he racked up good goal tallies some years but they were sporadic over his United career.

I'm a massive Solskjaer fan, but i stand by my opinion that Ferguson never seen as first choice material.
He wasn’t quite the first name on the team sheet, but he was a first team regular under Fergie more than people remember.

In the PL he started 151 times and came off the bench 84 times. Significantly more starts than off the bench. It’s a myth that he was just a super sub.
 

Tom Cato

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He wasn’t quite the first name on the team sheet, but he was a first team regular under Fergie more than people remember.

In the PL he started 151 times and came off the bench 84 times. Significantly more starts than off the bench. It’s a myth that he was just a super sub.
Maybe he was just super happy every time Fergie subbed him off so he could run over and high five his replacement?

The supersub term very likely comes from a few noteable appearances as a substitute, Nottingham Forest, and of course the CL final. And not least outright rejecting a move to Tottenham to stay and fight for his spot here. Ole is known for never complaining about being on the bench, so there's probably a lot of factors that go into the supersub label.
 

90 + 5min

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As much as we like Solskjaer and even with all his goals he got, he is not in the class of Nistelrooy if you rank by pure finnisher. (Or some other players mentioned here) VanNistelrooy is our best finnisher since I can remember. And that includes Rooney, Ronaldo, Cantona, Cole, Hughes, Yorke and so on.
 

gerdm07

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The best striker we have had in Fergie times no doubt about it . I've never seen anyone so clinical in front of goal . Ice cold
Thanks for the laugh. Even Ole would say that is not true.
 

MadDogg

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As much as we like Solskjaer and even with all his goals he got, he is not in the class of Nistelrooy if you rank by pure finnisher. (Or some other players mentioned here) VanNistelrooy is our best finnisher since I can remember. And that includes Rooney, Ronaldo, Cantona, Cole, Hughes, Yorke and so on.
Ruud was absolutely a better finisher than everyone else you mentioned there. I'd be surprised if anyone debates that. But there's a reason that there's a debate when it comes to Ole - they were obviously the two best finishers during Fergie's time. Many (including myself) feel that Ole shades it. Pretty sure (but can't find the quote so could be proven wrong) that Ferguson himself has said the same.
 

lsd

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Ruud was absolutely a better finisher than everyone else you mentioned there. I'd be surprised if anyone debates that. But there's a reason that there's a debate when it comes to Ole - they were obviously the two best finishers during Fergie's time. Many (including myself) feel that Ole shades it. Pretty sure (but can't find the quote so could be proven wrong) that Ferguson himself has said the same.

I think Rooney said it when asked who was the best finisher he played with
 

stevoc

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He wasn’t quite the first name on the team sheet, but he was a first team regular under Fergie more than people remember.

In the PL he started 151 times and came off the bench 84 times. Significantly more starts than off the bench. It’s a myth that he was just a super sub.
I think we're saying the same thing here mate. Yes he regularly started games but bar the odd season he was never really a first choice striker.
 

lsd

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I think we're saying the same thing here mate. Yes he regularly started games but bar the odd season he was never really a first choice striker.

Yes but he was so good coming off the bench so Fergie loved that option . Other strikers don't perform that well coming into a game . They take too much time to get into the flow and so it makes sense when you have a player that can come in and get you a goal straightaway when you most need it you will use him there when you can.

It's not a knock on him to have him as your sub .

He proved he could score goals when starting games and when coming off the bench not all our strikers could do that
 

stevoc

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Yes but he was so good coming off the bench so Fergie loved that option . Other strikers don't perform that well coming into a game . They take too much time to get into the flow and so it makes sense when you have a player that can come in and get you a goal straightaway when you most need it you will use him there when you can.

It's not a knock on him to have him as your sub .

He proved he could score goals when starting games and when coming off the bench not all our strikers could do that
Hey i'm not trying to knock Solskajer as a player at all i think he was brilliant in the role he played for us. I just agreed with someone in an earlier post that Ferguson never seen him as first choice long term.
 

onetwo3oclock4oclockrock

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Both played during a time when the EPL was tougher then the one faced by Ole and both had a higher goal ratio then Ole did (0.68 for Ruud, 0.40 for Ronaldo, 0.34 for Ole)
Not really fair, though, as this is goals per game, and many of Oles games where of the bench for a few minutes. Better than Ronaldo at goals per minute. 19th in PL history on goals per minute (counting only players with more than 1350 minutes (15 full matches)).
 

devilish

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Not really fair, though, as this is goals per game, and many of Oles games where of the bench for a few minutes. Better than Ronaldo at goals per minute. 19th in PL history on goals per minute (counting only players with more than 1350 minutes (15 full matches)).
True but don't forget that Ronaldo played on the flanks, in a tougher league and left prior his prime
 

onetwo3oclock4oclockrock

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True but don't forget that Ronaldo played on the flanks, in a tougher league and left prior his prime
Yeah, I'm not in in any way suggesting that Solskjær was a better player than Ronaldo , of course. Only pointing out that goal per minute will give a more fair representation of Solskjærs stats.
 

devilish

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Yeah, I'm not in in any way suggesting that Solskjær was a better player than Ronaldo , of course. Only pointing out that goal per minute will give a more fair representation of Solskjærs stats.
Don’t you think that a winger get far less chances to score when compared to a goal poacher?
 

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To me Ruud was a better footballer but Ole was a better finisher.
 

onetwo3oclock4oclockrock

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Don’t you think that a winger get far less chances to score when compared to a goal poacher?
Yes, I do?
Again; I was only pointing out that goals per minute will give a more fair representation of Solskjærs stats, since he came of the bench a lot, so his numbers don't look all that impressive when you count goals per game.

I'm not in in any way suggesting that Solskjær was a better player than Ronaldo. There, I said it twice. Will that be enough?
 

devilish

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Yes, I do?
Again; I was only pointing out that goals per minute will give a more fair representation of Solskjærs stats, since he came of the bench a lot, so his numbers don't look all that impressive when you count goals per game.

I'm not in in any way suggesting that Solskjær was a better player than Ronaldo. There, I said it twice. Will that be enough?
I think we're lost in translation here. The initial argument was whether Ole is a better finisher then Ronaldo or not
 

MikeeMike

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I'd have him 5th:

Eric
Ruud
Rooney
Cole
Ole

Honourable mentions to Saha, Yorke, etc who didn't make the cut as they didn't have the influence and/or longevity of those on the list. Ronaldo was effectively a winger for most of his time here also.
RvP Surely ?
 

UnrelatedPsuedo

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He really was. Ruud and Ronaldo (in his last couple of seasons) obviously were better players and scored more goals overall, but in terms of pure clinical finishing ability Ole was the best.
Ole was not Even close to Ruud as a finisher.

He was clinical compared to Yorke, Cole and Sheringham but not a patch on Ruud.

Thats almost as daft as those saying Cantona was a phenomenal finisher. He wasn’t. He was clutch. A big moment big game player, but he wasn’t a consistent phenomenal finisher.