Ruby Walsh formed a winning partnership with Sir Alex Ferguson – and believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the right man to do the same for Manchester United .
Legendary jockey Walsh, 39, is a dyed-in-the-wool United fan and he speaks with as much passion for his beloved club as the Cheltenham Festival.
Walsh, who has a record 58 Festival wins to his name, firmly believes Solskjaer is the right man to instil United’s values back into the club and guide them back towards Fergie’s glory days.
Solskjaer is set to be named as United’s next permanent boss after a remarkable winning run as caretaker manager only came to an end with defeat at Arsenal on Sunday.
Walsh, ready for Cheltenham after overcoming a frightening catalogue of injuries, said: “I know Sir Alex, been lucky enough to ride for him and what he did at Manchester United was just phenomenal.
“He built three teams, great successful and winning teams, an incredible squad and it might just be impossible for anyone to reach those sort of levels again.
“But someone like Solskjaer understands the Fergie mentality, how the club works and what it means to be successful with Manchester United.
“I love reading about Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, two managers who have enjoyed success but also have a philosophy about how to play, bringing through young players and building up a club.
“That’s what is important now for Solskjaer. He makes things seem simple, he is easy to listen to, never gets too high, never gets too low and he’s not dour or negative, just focuses on the positives.
“If you are picking holes, picking fights and being negative the whole time then you have no chance. That’s not the United way, if there is such a thing.
“It’s important to have someone who understands the culture of the club. I’d have given Ryan Giggs the job after Fergie but now it seems as if Solskjaer will get that same chance a few years later.
“If he keeps going then of course top four is possible, maybe the FA Cup as well and he is doing a brilliant job with all the fans hoping he stays.”
Walsh himself is also on a recovery mission, having suffered two broken legs, a broken wrist and a serious back injury and yet has no fear of riding again at the Cheltenham Festival.
“You are always aware of the chances of being injured, it’s always a big risk,” said Walsh. “You know it’s a high possibility. But when you get older it certainly doesn’t get any better.
“But I love Cheltenham, it’s a great place to go, brilliant atmosphere and it’s the most high profile but there’s other great races and meets.”
But Walsh does believe horse racing can improve and must move with the times to keep up with the likes of football.
He added: “If you look at the popularity of football or rugby, horse racing is trying to keep up with the popularity of those sports and compete for sponsorship.
“When football was all played at 3pm on a Saturday, it realised it had to move with the times, get more coverage and look for the best approach. Similarly, the same has happened with the Six Nations.
“Now racing and race meetings need to do the same. There’s loads of meetings now on a Saturday. They’ve tried to look at ways, for example, to move the Derby to improve viewing figures.
“But the fact is that you have to be creative, you have to try and improve and you can’t compete with so many other major sports at weekends the whole time so maybe you have to move to when horse racing is the main event and the main attraction.”