Sir Alex Ferguson made Man United players swap kits in classic Premier League moment


To Sir Alex Ferguson, winning was all that mattered at Manchester United.

The retired manager made it his mission to collect as many trophies as possible, and he did a fine job of it.

He amassed 38 in total, including 13 Premier League titles.

That win-at-all-costs attitude has been largely lost since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, but it led to so many memorable moments during his 27 years at Old Trafford.

Perhaps none are as classic as the game that Ferguson ordered his United players to swap kits at half-time.


Fergie ordered Man Utd kit swap

It came in April 1996, when United travelled to The Dell to take on Southampton in a crucial match.

United had just reeled in Newcastle United’s 12-point lead at the top of the table, winning 11 of their previous 12 games.  

But at half-time of their game against Southampton, the Red Devils trailed 3-0 – and Ferguson was alarmed.

However, he didn’t blame his players. Instead, it was the grey kit they were wearing at the time that left Ferguson frustrated.


The Scot believed his players couldn’t see each other, so he ordered them to change into a blue and white strip at half-time.

United had worn the kit four times before the Southampton game and hadn’t won once. They drew to Nottingham Forest and lost to Aston Villa, Arsenal and Liverpool.

So perhaps Ferguson had a point. United were fined £10,000 for dumping the kit at half-time, and it was actually retired two days after the match, never to be worn again.


The kit-swap seemed to help – United scored in the second half, losing 3-1 – and they would  go on to win the Premier League title. 

Ferguson’s reaction at half-time was revealed by former United player Lee Sharpe in The Guardian.

“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,” Sharpe said in 2006.

Last year, ex-United right-back Gary Neville revealed that Ferguson had actually brought in an ‘eye coach’ called Gail Stephenson to help the team improve their sight on the pitch.

Neville told Sky Sports: “Sir Alex had been told by Gail that grey was the worst possible colour to spot players in with fans in the background. So he had it in his head that the players couldn’t see each other as much because of this kit. He believed in his coaching staff and Gail was our ‘eye coach’.

“We used to do eye exercises before every game, even though I sometimes struggled to pick out my team-mates in red shirts!”

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“The best £10,000 I ever spent”

Despite being accused of making excuses, Ferguson had no regrets about the kit swap.

“Yeah, I remember that grey strip. Who can forget it?” he said in 2012, per the Mail.

“I changed the kits at half-time and we got charged £10,000 for it. It was the best £10,000 I ever spent.”


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