Belfast Telegraph

Wolves defend Solbakken appointment

Wolves owner Steve Morgan insists he has not taken a gamble in making Norwegian Stale Solbakken the club's first foreign manager.

Solbakken's only previous experience of English football was half a dozen games as a player with Wimbledon in the late 1990s. But Morgan is convinced his managerial record with FC Copenhagen, which includes a Champions League win over Manchester United and a draw with Barcelona, means he has the ideal pedigree.

He said: "I felt we needed to bring something fresh, a new approach to the club. In the general sense, any appointment is always a gamble. Whoever you appoint in life, never mind football it's always a gamble. But we don't believe that Stale, just because he is not well known in English football, is a gamble."

Morgan added: "He's a veteran of the Champions League, won countless trophies and is very professional. He's legendary in Scandinavia and Northern Europe.

"I don't think it is a brave move. I think he is a proven manager. His win rate is outstanding, it is up there with the best. Yes, it is outside of the box and unusual in not being a name on everyone's tongue. I think he will be an excellent fit for the club, we've got on extremely well since we met."

Morgan admits Solbakken became his first choice after he was sacked by Cologne last month, although the club also interviewed interim manager Terry Connor.

He said: "I've known about Stale for a few years and then he went to FC Cologne. Their record is 26 managers in 25 years so we knew there was every chance he would become available again.

"As soon as he did, we made contact. He is a man who will bring a steely determination to Wolves and we very much welcome him. We did interview Terry but our number one choice was Stale and we are looking forward next season to start the fightback."

Wolves fans will expect a quick-fire return to the Barclays Premier League after relegation, but Solbakken is making no rash predictions.

He said: "We know the Championship is a marathon and I've seen a few games this season and if you ask seven, eight or nine managers, they will have the same aim. It will be a hard and long season next year but we are very positive, and the work starts now and we will see."


From Belfast Telegraph