Manchester United face off against Liverpool on Sunday. And, when the teams met in the same fixture last season, it was quite a memorable event. The game was initially postponed due to protests over the European Super League, with fans at Old Trafford getting the game called off.
Back in April, football was plunged into chaos.
Manchester United and Liverpool, along with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal, rocked the planet by signing up to a European Super League.
Their owners believed it was time for a change. Fed up with having to actually compete for honours, they tried to form a division that would enable them to fight by divine right.
And, what’s more, these people didn’t even have the nerve to give their respective managers a heads up.
Horrendously, Solskjaer was hung out to dry.
Ed Woodward only informed Solskjaer of the plan in the tunnel before a 3-1 win over Burnley, with Edinson Cavani striking twice.
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Effectively, United hung the Norwegian out to dry. Neither the Glazers, nor Woodward, had to publicly speak out that day.
But Solskjaer, in the glaring spotlight of the Sky Sports cameras, had to talk about a scheme he had no role in.
“I’ve seen this morning, like you, the news and the speculation so I can’t really say too much,” he said.
“My focus has just been on this game and I got the news today as well.
“I haven’t looked into it, I’ve just been focusing on this game. I just need to sit down and see what it is and the club will probably comment on it later.”
When pressed to provide further detail, the United boss added: “As I said, I’ve not seen any. I don’t really know all the ins and outs, so I need to find out, then the clubs can issue comment.”
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The way Solskjaer was exposed, but then kept his dignity and class, deserves mentioning at a time where questions are being asked over the Norwegian’s suitability for the role.
This was a dark day for United. A really dark one.
And things didn’t improve immediately, with fans flocking to Old Trafford and successfully getting their match with Liverpool called off.
Not only did they gather outside, they also gained entry. Some even took pictures with Gary Neville, who was meant to be performing punditry duties for Sky.
Green and gold smoke consumed Manchester that day, a throwback to the colours of Newton Heath. When they were a football club, and nothing more.
And some fans even got onto the training ground.
Solskjaer could have been forgiven for running away from an angry mob. It takes courage to stand up to a group of people out for blood, even if it wasn’t his they wanted.
But he didn’t do that. He engaged them in conversation, standing up to claims he was merely Joel Glazer’s puppet.
And when United announced the collapse of the European Super League, he was open with what he thought of the matter.
“First of all, I’m very happy that the fans have voiced their opinion,” he said. “And that we’ve listened to them.
“In a strange sort of way, it’s brought the football pyramid or community together.
“I think that’s important and I’m very happy as I’m a supporter myself and there will be a day I come back and watch Man United and I want to watch a Man United team even with a fear of failure, you know, that’s what I thought about it.
“I didn’t like the concept anyway. It has to be on sporting merit.
“I want to earn the right to play in Europe. We know we have been pioneers and have been in Europe many, many years since the Busby Babes. That’s one part of it and we want to be part of a successful European campaign again.
“One of my best nights has been in Europe and it’s something we worked really hard towards, to get that. There’s that feeling of fear of failure.
“You cannot just be given it because your name is such and such. You have to earn the right to be there and to get the best possible performance, I’ve always felt and believed in stepping out of your comfort zone.
“Being afraid of failure, and living on the edge a bit, spurs you on.
“For me, this wasn’t part of it and I’m very happy that all the clubs have admitted their mistakes. This was a bad idea, and the way that it came out as well.”
When United did eventually face Liverpool, they lost 4-2.
But the way fans grouped together was special. And, as they prepare to do battle again, the European Super League debacle should act as a unique chapter in their illustrious rivalry.