Ahead of Sunday's EFL Cup final, we recall the time when Manchester United pulled off one of the most bizarre stunts in Premier League history by changing kit at half-time.
On 13 April 1996, Alex Ferguson and his men travelled to Southampton having won 11 of their previous 12 games to reel in Newcastle's 12-point lead at the top of the table.
But 45 minutes into the game, it seemed like Ferguson’s men were gonna undo their months of hard work after an extraordinarily one-sided first half from the relegation-threatened Southampton side saw United going into the break with a three-goal deficit.
Former midfielder Lee Sharpe recalls the strange half-time team-talk that followed,
’The manager just stormed in and said: "Get that kit off, you're getting changed." Those were the first words he said at half-time.’
Ferguson’s command was carried out and the players walked out the dug-out for the next half wearing their blue and white second away strip. The performance did improve to an extent. They didn’t concede in the second-half and nabbed a late consolation goal through Ryan Giggs, but it wasn’t enough to stop Southampton from walking out the pitch with an easy 3-1 win.
"The players don't like the grey strip,"
"The players couldn't pick each other out. They said it was difficult to see their team-mates at distance when they lifted their heads.”
“It was nothing to do with superstition. ”
-said Ferguson in the post-match press conference.
It might not have been a superstitious decision but they failed to win in any of the five games in which the grey, two-tone design had been worn. Promptly, the grey kit was consigned to the bin and United would proceed to win their final three games of the season to clinch the title.