Wolves confirm Solbakken as manager
Wolverhampton Wanderers this morning confirmed the appointment of Stale Solbakken as their new manager. Norwegian Solbakken, 44, has signed a contract, the length of which was not disclosed, which starts on 1 July.
Terry Connor, who has been in charge since the sacking of Mick McCarthy in early February, will lead the team in Sunday's final Premier League game at Wigan Athletic before standing down. Solbakken said: "I am delighted to be taking up the important challenge to manage Wolves. It's an exciting opportunity to manage a great club and I can't wait to get started."
Wolves were widely criticised for the decision to turn to Connor, who worked previously as McCarthy's assistant, with the decision failing to inspire improved results and relegation was confirmed last month. But the club's chief executive Jez Moxey was pleased to have secured the signature of Solbakken. He said: "Following talks with Stale Solbakken I am happy to confirm that he has agreed to become our new manager. He will be formally introduced to the media on Monday."
Solbakken has an impressive pedigree although his copybook was blotted last month when sacked by Cologne, who were then third from bottom of the Bundesliga. But before that Solbakken had led FC Copenhagen to five Danish titles. He is a former Norway international but his playing career came to an end after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the training ground at FCK, who were then managed by new England boss Roy Hodgson.
The Wolves players were informed of the appointment in a meeting with Moxey at the club's training ground this morning and several admitted they had not heard of their new boss. Central defender Roger Johnson told Sky Sports News: "I am not too sure. I don't know who the guy is to be honest. It is out of the blue. We'll see what happens." Defender Ronald Zubar said: "Seriously, I don't know who he is but I will know today for sure."
It is believed Connor will retain a role at Molineux as part of the backroom staff after 13 years service with the club. Wolves will hope Solbakken can pump new life into a team which has endured a dismal campaign and seen their three-year spell in the Premier League come to an end.
He has UEFA Champions League experience with FC Copenhagen and steered them to a shock win over Manchester United six years ago, as well as holding Barcelona to a 1-1 draw in 2010. But the Championship will be a new experience for Solbakken.
Chairman Steve Morgan has already promised that funds will be made available to try to restore Wolves to the top flight at the first attempt. But Solbakken faces a fight to hold on to the likes of top scorer Steven Fletcher, fellow striker Kevin Doyle and England winger Matt Jarvis.