"I am honoured. I think it is important that the club remains in the right hands." Football changes even the most moral of men, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, nearly nine years on from publicly opposing the Glazer family's takeover of Manchester United, is about to embark on his first managerial role in English football under an owner who was "angry" at the lack of goals from Cardiff’s goalkeeper last season.

"I am absolutely on the supporters' side and think the club is in very good hands as it is today," Solskjaer added at the time of his appointment as Shareholders United patron. He can expect to be asked about his support for fan-ownership when Vincent Tan unveils him as Malky Mackay's successor this week, in what will be the first baptism of fire as he takes over at Cardiff City Stadium.

Solskjaer will have £25 million to spend in the January transfer window, as he is tasked with the job of keeping a flagging Cardiff side in the Premier League. The Bluebirds' late defeat at Arsenal on New Year's Day has seen them slip to 17th in the table, and however over-lauded Mackay was after four victories from 18, it is a gamble to entrust Solskjaer.

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  • Arsenal v Cardiff City - Premier League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Molde manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (2L) and Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan (L) look on from the stands prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Cardiff City at Emirates Stadium on January 1, 2014 in London, England. Solskjaer has been linked with the vacant Cardiff City manager position. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-CARDIFF

    Cardiff City's Malaysian owner Vincent Tan (L) stands with Molde's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (R) ahead of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Cardiff City at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 1, 2014. Solskjaer attended Cardiff City's game at Arsenal, fuelling speculation that he is to be appointed as the Welsh club's new manager. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-CARDIFF

    Cardiff City's Malaysian owner Vincent Tan (CL) stands with Molde's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (C) ahead of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Cardiff City at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 1, 2014. Solskjaer attended Cardiff City's game at Arsenal, fuelling speculation that he is to be appointed as the Welsh club's new manager. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Arsenal v Cardiff City - Premier League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Molde manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (2L) and Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan (L) look on from the stands prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Cardiff City at Emirates Stadium on January 1, 2014 in London, England. Solskjaer has been linked with the vacant Cardiff City manager position. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-CARDIFF

    Cardiff City's Malaysian owner Vincent Tan (L) stands with Molde's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (C) ahead of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Cardiff City at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 1, 2014. Solskjaer attended Cardiff City's game at Arsenal, fuelling speculation that he is to be appointed as the Welsh club's new manager. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-CARDIFF

    Cardiff City's Malaysian owner Vincent Tan (L) stands with Molde's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (R) ahead of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Cardiff City at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 1, 2014. Solskjaer attended Cardiff City's game at Arsenal, fuelling speculation that he is to be appointed as the Welsh club's new manager. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Arsenal v Cardiff City - Premier League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Molde manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (2L) and Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan (L) look on from the stands prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Cardiff City at Emirates Stadium on January 1, 2014 in London, England. Solskjaer has been linked with the vacant Cardiff City manager position. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Arsenal v Cardiff City - Premier League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Molde manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (2L) and Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan (L) look on from the stands prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Cardiff City at Emirates Stadium on January 1, 2014 in London, England. Solskjaer has been linked with the vacant Cardiff City manager position. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Arsenal v Cardiff City - Emirates Stadium

    Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before the Barclays Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Arsenal v Cardiff City - Emirates Stadium

    *BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE* Cardiff City's owner Vincent Tan alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (centre) during the Barclays Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Arsenal v Cardiff City - Emirates Stadium

    Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before the Barclays Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Arsenal v Cardiff City - Emirates Stadium

    Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan (left) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (second left) before the Barclays Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Arsenal v Cardiff City - Emirates Stadium

    *BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE* Cardiff City's owner Vincent Tan alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (centre) during the Barclays Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.


The former United striker's stock has subsided since he rejected the chance to manage Blackburn, and then Aston Villa, in 2012 - Molde finished sixth in last year's Tippeligaen after back-to-back titles. The 40-year-old, a patient student of the game during the countless occasions he began matches on the United bench, does not seem such a logical choice for an unstable club whose owner was itching to hit the panic button as far back as the summer.

Solskjaer has joined a club where the head of recruitment was sacked and replaced by a 23-year-old Kazakh friend of Tan's son. Calamitously, Alisher Apsalyamov left the club last month over work visa issues. For Solskjaer, it is probably just as well.

He has joined a club whose soul has been ripped out by Tan. Red has replaced blue and a dragon now dwarfs the Bluebird on the club crest. Those Cardiff supporters who have followed the club's ascension up the Football League ladder might prefer they were in the Championship without Tan, rather than in the Premier League with him.

Cardiff fans promised a riot if Mackay was sacked, and while that is yet to materialise, Solskjaer will have to quickly win over supporters who have grown increasingly disenchanted with their pantomime villain of an owner.

Sir Alex Ferguson always advised his players with coaching ambitions to pick an owner, not a club. It is why Solskjaer rejected the risible Venky's owners at Blackburn, although Ferguson seemed to have no qualms fraternising with Tan in the Cardiff directors' box when United visited the Welsh capital in November. Ferguson, lest we forget, also heralded the Glazers as "brilliant owners", even though they have leeched off United for nearly a decade. Football is a business, and Tan is responsible for Cardiff's top-flight status.