When Manchester United changed jersey at Half-Time!

March 15, 2023

In the world of football, there are few things more iconic than a team’s jersey. From the red and white of Arsenal to the blue of Chelsea, a team’s colors are an integral part of their identity. For Manchester United, the famous red and white jersey has been worn by some of the greatest players in the game, including George Best, Eric Cantona, and Cristiano Ronaldo. However, there was one game where United changed their jersey at half time, a move that is still talked about to this day.

The game took place on October 26, 1996, at The Dell, Southampton’s former stadium. Manchester United, the reigning champions, were on a roll, having won five of their last six games. Southampton, on the other hand, were struggling, having won only one of their last six games.

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The Red Devils were wearing their grey away kit for the first time that season, but things did not go well for them. They were trailing 3-0 at half time, after goals from Ken Monkou, Neil Shipperley and Matt Le Tissier.

Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary manager of Manchester United, decided to take a drastic action. He ordered his team to change their kit at half time and wear their blue and white striped third kit instead. He later said that it was “the best £10k I ever spent” as he was fined by the FA for breaching kit regulations.

However, the kit change did not make much difference to the outcome of the game. Manchester United only managed to score one goal in the second half through Ryan Giggs and lost 3-1. It was their first defeat in 12 league games and it allowed Newcastle United to close the gap at the top of the table to just four points.

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Why did they do it?

The reason for the change was later revealed to be a combination of factors. First, Ferguson believed that the blue kit would make it easier for his players to see each other on the pitch, as it would stand out against the green grass. Second, he believed that the grey and red kit was causing problems for his players, as it blended in with the Southampton players’ red and white stripes.

The game became known as the “grey kit game” and is still talked about by football fans today. It was a rare moment of misjudgment from Ferguson, who was known for his tactical nous and attention to detail. The incident also led to speculation that the players were unable to see each other in the grey kit, leading to further confusion on the pitch.

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Despite the loss, United went on to win the Premier League title that season, while Southampton finished in 16th place, narrowly avoiding relegation. The grey kit was never worn again by United, and it remains a bizzare event in the history of the club.

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