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Southampton logo
Premier League
Apr 13, 1996 at 3pm UK
 
Manchester United logo

3-1

Monkou (11'), Le Tissier (43'), Shipperley (23')
FT(HT: 3-0)
Giggs (89')

On This Day: Grey day for Manchester United away at Southampton

Nineteen years ago today, Sir Alex Ferguson made his Manchester United player change their kit during the break as they lost away at Southampton.

Among his vast array of managerial qualities, Sir Alex Ferguson was the master of deflecting the attention away from his players following a poor result or performance.

The wily Scot would think little of blaming the match official, the pitch or injuries for his side's failure to win a game.

Matthew Le Tissier of Southampton shoots at goal as Ryan Giggs of Manchester United makes a challenge during the FA Carling Premiership match between Southampton and Manchester United held on April 13, 1996© Getty Images

Taking such a stance would mean that the next morning's newspapers would, by and large, focus on Ferguson's viewpoint, rather than the defeat suffered by his Manchester United team.

However, there was one excuse, which he used 19 years ago today, that was bizarre to say the least.

His title-chasing players travelled to Southampton, who were fighting to preserve their status as a Premier League club. Even so, despite the contrast in fortunes between the teams, the Saints had a knack of recording famous wins over United.

As a Second Division side in 1976, they caused a huge upset by defeating the Red Devils 1-0 in the FA Cup final. There was also a 4-1 hammering in the 1986 Littlewoods Cup, while many remember the 6-3 hammering in 1996.

Ken Monkou celebrates his goal with team-mate Matthew Le Tissier of Southampton during the FA Carling Premiership match between Southampton and Manchester United held on April 13, 1996© Getty Images

On this occasion, David Merrington's men added their names to the list in a first-half blitz at The Dell.

Southampton centre-back Ken Monkou broke the deadlock with a powerful drive from close range, before Neil Shipperley beat United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel at his near post to make it 2-0.

Shipperley was also involved in his side's third goal when Schmeichel dropped his cross into the path of Matt Le Tissier, who nonchalantly turned the ball into the far corner of the net.

After that, it was over to Ferguson, who during the break made his players change from their grey away strip into the club's third kit, which was made up of blue and white stripes.

The reason, Ferguson would reveal after the final whistle, was that during those opening 45 minutes, his players could not pick each other out on the pitch.

Barry Venison of Southampton challenges Ryan Giggs of Manchester United for the loose ball during the FA Carling Premiership match between Southampton and Manchester United held on April 13, 1996© Getty Images

"The players don't like the grey strip. They find it difficult to pick each other out. We had to change the strip," he explained to reporters.

To some extent the switch worked because Ryan Giggs pulled one goal back for the visitors, but it was only to be a consolation effort from the Welsh winger.

It would be the last time that United ever wore the grey kit, having won none of the five outings in which they had used it - losing four times and drawing once.

Speaking back in 2012 about that moment, Ferguson recalled: "Yes, I remember that grey strip. Who can forget it? I changed the kits at half-time and we got charged £10,000 for it. It was the best £10,000 I ever spent!"

SOUTHAMPTON: Beasant; Dodd, Monkou, Benali, Venison; Charlton, Neilson, Heany, Magilton; Le Tissier, Shipperley

MAN UNITED: Schmeichel; Irwin, G Neville, Bruce, Sharpe (May); Giggs, Butt (Scholes), Keane, Beckham; Cantona, Cole

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