THE BLOG

Solskjaer Puts His Head in The Lions Mouth

04/01/2014 22:36 GMT | Updated 05/03/2014 10:59 GMT

If, over recent days, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has paid any attention to advice pouring in from many of footballs most celebrated pundits, he has certainly chosen to ignore it.

The general feeling amongst the wider footballing family has been that the Norwegian should have politely thanked Cardiff City's Malaysian owner Vincent Tan for the offer of the role of manager and then sat back and waited for a proposition from a more stable club.

Recent events at Cardiff City have been well catalogued. The departure of manager Malky Mackay last week was the culmination of a long running feud between Tan and Mackay. Inevitably, there was only ever going to be one winner and it wasn't going to be the Glaswegian. The increasing bitterness between the pair had been played out in public in recent months and both the national and international media sided firmly with the relatively successful and amiable Mackay. Tan, on the other hand, was on the end of a hatchet job from both the red tops and the broadsheets. Even the major broadcasting corporations got in on the act.

Whether by accident or design, Tan is good copy. An unpredictable billionaire with eccentricities in abundance and a hair trigger autocratic side balanced with a comedy appearance. He is a headline writer's dream and if the stories emanating from the South Wales football club are to be believed, an employee's nightmare.

So, why on earth is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a man with a blossoming managerial reputation in his native Norway, prepared to risk it all and work for the Malaysian billionaire, recently labelled "The worst owner in sports" by 'USA Today'?

After a glittering playing career, it seems unlikely that the Norwegian needs the money but in order to make an impact in the premier league he does need an owner with deep pockets. Vincent Tan certainly fits the bill in that context, although it is still a source of immense irritation amongst Cardiff City supporters that Tan has yet to deliver on his promise to convert debt to equity. Money injected into the club by the Malaysian is, at present, no more than a loan. That said, it has been made clear to Solskjaer that substantial funds will be made available to strengthen the squad in the January transfer window.

Aside from a healthy transfer budget, the other big attraction for the ex Manchester United star appears to be ambition. Whilst Tan, undoubtedly, comes across as being totally clueless about the traditions and machinations of the English game, he does have ambition for Cardiff City and plenty of it. Stadium expansion is underway. A new state of the art training ground is earmarked and simply treading water does not seem to be an option as far as Vincent Tan is concerned.

Whatever Solskjaer's reasons for taking up the challenge in South Wales, the coming months promise to be intriguing ones at a football club where discontent against the owner continues to simmer amongst the fanbase and where the media have Vincent Tan firmly in their sights.