Saturday 13 April 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson made the unprecedented step of changing his team’s kit in a bid to galvanise his side’s title hopes at half-time as they slumped to a surprise 3-1 defeat to relegation-threatened Southampton at the Dell.
"I changed the kits at half-time and we got charged £10,000 for it. It was the best £10,000 I ever spent"
Sir Alex Ferguson
Saints romped to a 3-0 lead before the interval, thanks to goals from Ken Monkou, Neil Shipperley and Matt Le Tissier, and Ferguson, clearly unhappy at his side’s first half performance, took it out on his side’s grey kit.
“The players don’t like the grey strip," said Ferguson after the match. "They find it difficult to pick each other out. We had to change the strip.”
After the break, United responded and managed to get a late consolation goal through Ryan Giggs, but Saints held on for a vital victory that lifted them out of the relegation zone, and ultimately helped the South Coast club to avoid relegation thanks to a superior goal difference over Manchester City in a dramatic final day of the season.
As for United, they had only gained one point from a possible 12 with the grey away kit worn at The Dell. The defeat left them three points above Newcastle United, who had a game in hand, at the top of the Barclays Premier League, but Ferguson's side won their final three matches without conceding a goal and lifted the league title.
Speaking after his side’s trip to Southampton in September 2012, Ferguson recalled: “Yeah, 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’s win was one of three Premier League victories over the Red Devils at The Dell in consecutive seasons, including a remarkable 6-3 victory in the 1996/97 campaign. The 3-1 success seemed to inspire both clubs, as Saints earned four points from their next three matches to maintain their top-flight status.