That Time When A Football Team Changed Kit Mid-Match
Outside of looking good, being part of athleisure fashion and representing a team’s colours, football team kits also ostensibly have the practical purpose of allowing players to spot each other on a football pitch.
However, sometimes the pressure to make a kit look fashionable not only leads to logo changes and some baffling designs but can also lose a football team matches, such as was the case with the time a team changed shirts in the middle of a match.
On 13th April 1996, two weeks before Kevin Keegan’s infamous “I would love it” rant, his exceptionally strong Newcastle United squad and a Manchester United team with one of the youngest average ages in football league history were in a close battle for the title.
It was exactly the wrong time for Alex Ferguson’s fledglings to go three-down at the Dell against Southampton, a team that was fighting to avoid relegation.
Whilst the team was struggling for many reasons, part of the problem, according to Sir Alex, was the team’s grey kit which was at the time their official away kit, but had only been worn for five matches, not one of which they had won.
The issue, besides its somewhat ghastly look, is that it made it difficult to spot other players, as it was designed to blend in as part of a smart sports-casual look rather than be used in a football match.
At half time, losing three-nil, Sir Alex stormed into the dressing room and demanded that the team all change into their third kit, a much better blue and white striped design.
Whether it was due to a severe dressing down or the more colourful design, Man United did play better in the second half, although a paltry Ryan Giggs goal was not enough to claw the match back.
However, this kit did manage to save Southampton from an ignominious relegation, as this win alongside United’s cross-city rivals Manchester City’s infamous draw in their final match led to them staying up via goal difference.
The grey kit was dropped two days later, Man United won their last three games and the Premier League, and the legend of the mid-match kit change became a footnote to one of the most legendary seasons ever played.