A grey day for Manchester United (April 1996)

Manchester United had seized the initiative in the 1995-1996 Premier League title race when they travelled to The Dell to play Southampton. With just four games to go, the Red Devils were undefeated since New Years’ Day and expected to record another routine win on the south coast. However, they got a real shock from the Saints in an unexpected first 45 minutes.

Southampton needed the points themselves as they looked to avoid relegation and they took full advantage of a rare off-day for the Red Devils. Ken Monkou opened the scoring after 13 minutes, quickest to a rebound after Peter Schmeichel had saved his initial header. Neil Shipperley made it 2-0 and just before half-time, Schmeichel dropped a cross into the path of Matt Le Tissier. He made no mistake and the Saints went into the dressing rooms at half-time 3-0 infront.

Manchester United were wearing a grey away kit which was not producing great luck. They’d already lost in this strip to Aston Villa, Arsenal and Liverpool FC. Rather than make sweeping personnel changes, the players were ordered to change out of the grey kit and into their third kit. The official reason given by the United hierarchy was the players were struggling to see each other on the pitch! It was the first time this had ever happened in Premier League history.

There was an improvement after the break from the champions-elect and Ryan Giggs did score a consolation. It was not enough though and Southampton claimed an important and deserved 3-1 victory.

Manchester United never wore the grey away kit again after this grey day at The Dell.

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