Ole's Villa talks cause chaos
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed he held talks with Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner on Friday about becoming the club's next manager.
But the former Manchester United striker returned to Norway to find his current club, Molde, in turmoil as a direct consequence of his actions.
Solskjaer and wife Silje flew into Birmingham on Lerner's private jet from the former Manchester United striker's home town of Kristiansund.
After a four-hour meeting that also included Solskjaer's agent Jim Solbakken, the 39-year-old returned to Norway to prepare for Molde's Norwegian league clash at Sandnes Ulf on Sunday.
He called the talks with Villa "casual", however they prompted Molde's billionaire backer to pull the plug on his company's 20-year support, which has included building the club a new stadium.
Businessman Kjell Inge Rokke, chairman and a major shareholder in industrial investment firm Aker, said Solskjaer had been asked to answer questions about his plans before holding talks with Villa, but had not provided answers.
Rokke said: "This is perceived as incompatible with the MFK [Molde football club] community that we are both a part of."
Solskjaer was asked, on Aker's behalf, whether he was considering leaving Molde before the end of the season, whether he would want to take support staff with him, and whether he would look to take players with him.
A statement released to newspaper Romsdals Budstikke on behalf of Rokke's business said: "Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not hidden the fact that one day he could go back to England. Nevertheless, Aker is surprising that he dropped Friday's training, and headed to England in public for informal talks with Aston Villa before three major league games in a week."
Solskjaer claims he is one of many names in the frame for the post vacated by Alex McLeish on Monday following the Scot's sacking.
Solskjaer added: "I can confirm I've spoken with Aston Villa.
"There were no negotiations, but an informal initial chat. They also have other candidates they want to talk to.
"I wanted to show respect for one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League by responding to their questions with an initial talk."
Speaking to Norwegian newspaper Romsdals Budstikke, Solskjaer added: "I am the manager of the MFK (Molde) and have only had a casual conversation."
Following an 11-season playing stint at Old Trafford, Solskjaer took charge of Manchester United's reserves for two-and-a-half years prior to returning in 2010 to Molde, a club where he spent two seasons in the mid-1990s before moving to England.
In his debut campaign in charge Solskjaer guided Molde to the league title last season for the first time in their 100-year history.
Molde tonight reacted to the statement from Rokke and Aker and said the club "regrets" the businessman and his company have taken the step to pull their backing after Solskjaer's trip to England.
In a statement on the club website, Molde said: "Rokke and Aker have for years been Molde Football Club's most important and largest partner in several areas. Molde FK are eternally grateful for the contribution and support Rokke, his family and Aker have shown us over the years.
"Molde Football Club regrets that Aker has decided to reduce its involvement as a result of our manager's actions. We confirm Rokke and Aker's version of events and why Aker has decided to reduce their contributions."
Club chairman Oystein Neerland said: "Molde Football Club recognises that current events have provided us with great challenges and put our reputation to the test. We will roll up our sleeves and work even harder to regain confidence."