Neil Humphreys: Solskjaer earned the Man United job with kids
Interim Red Devils boss' emphasis on youth gets him the permanent appointment
Alan Hansen got it wrong not once, but twice. The Liverpool legend famously remarked that Manchester United would win nothing with kids.
But the Class of '92 made a mockery of his myopia in 1996 and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pretty much did the same yesterday.
The United manager's three-year deal was always going to be a formality once he pulled off that Champions League miracle in Paris and the only other contender, Mauricio Pochettino, suffered a bad case of the yips at Tottenham Hotspur.
But United's board members brought forward their decision on Solskjaer's appointment when he demonstrated a commitment to going back to basics.
He returned to a musty venue that Jose Mourinho had essentially mothballed. He returned to the youth academy.
The kids may not win their new manager trophies, but they've already won him the job.
United's destiny belongs to a coach who understands the overriding philosophy of the club's past.
Youth reigns at Old Trafford.
Mourinho never quite got that. In fact, his entire career was built on buying quick-fixes.
In that regard, he was the perfect plumber for clubs leaking cash and patience.
But Manchester City and Liverpool are putting together long-term projects and United are playing catch up, chasing a philosophy that they once owned.
Youth is the way now. With Solskjaer, United are going back to their roots.
Marouane Fellaini's departure in January was just the beginning. Alexis Sanchez will be next.
Players of Sanchez's age will no longer be considered transfers targets, unless there's the kind of title-chasing emergency that forced Sir Alex Ferguson to sign Robin van Persie when the striker was 29.
But the Dutchman was very much the exception at United, during Ferguson's tenure and before.
From the Busby Babes to Best, Law and Charlton, Norman Whiteside and Roy Keane, first-teamers were either promoted from within or signed ahead of their prime.
At the peak of United's powers in the 2000s, Ferguson and his chief executive David Gill refused to buy outfield players over 27 unless there were special circumstances (such as van Persie).
But that approach changed after Ferguson's retirement, reaching its apotheosis under Mourinho, who paid over the odds for stop-gap signings such as Sanchez (29), Nemanja Matic (29) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (34).
Louis van Gaal also brought in Bastian Schweinsteiger, a 30-year-old German legend who'd left his legs in Munich.
Perhaps United's short-termism in the transfer market was indicative of the English Premier League's panic-stricken circus, where every poor signing was a crisis and every defeat was grounds for the sack.
But it wasn't working and it was expensive.
More importantly, in the biggest irony of all, United's sworn enemies have headed in the other direction. Liverpool have borrowed the Ferguson-Gill template to sign younger players and promote academy kids.
Maybe that was a reason why executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward refused to buy Tottenham's Toby Alderweireld, Mourinho's final ageing target.
But Solskjaer sees the error of Mourinho's ways.
The Norwegian has already given first-team opportunities to Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood. He is a regular visitor to the academy.
Other kids will be offered pathways to the Theatre of Dreams.
And no footballer epitomises the tug of war between competing philosophies quite like Marcus Rashford.
Under Mourinho, he was seldom a regular starter. But Solskjaer is shaping his attack around the 21-year-old.
Mourinho struggled with the anarchy of youth, the uncertainty of a new kid bringing his box of tricks to a big match.
But Solskjaer has the air of a liberal arts teacher. He hands out blank canvases and trusts the kids to do the right thing.
Just like Ferguson.
Of course, results help. Fourteen wins in 19 games obviously made for impressive reading in the final job interview.
And Solskjaer has brought the fun back to United, a priceless quality that has defined the club for decades. However, there was always going to be a honeymoon after Mourinho.
He left the dressing room looking like The Walking Dead set, filled with lost zombies in search of acceptance. United probably anticipated a shot in the arm from Solskjaer, but no one expected such an intoxicating catalyst for change.
The Norwegian wants faster football and younger footballers. The first bit made for an entertaining honeymoon.
The second bit got him a three-year contract.
Solskjaer and Woodward are already discussing rebuilding plans for the summer, when a technical director is expected to arrive.
There will be no more declining superstars seeking a final payday. United are interested only in players whose best is yet to come.
Hopefully, they'll be able to say the same about their new manager.