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27th Jul 2017

Manchester United supporters reckon they know why they lost to Barcelona

History repeating itself

Darragh Murphy

Sir Alex Ferguson tried to warn them.

Manchester United supporters’ concern was clear for all to see last week when their club announced a new third kit for the 2017/18 season.

While the nod towards the club’s history in the form of the so-called Holy Trinity of Old Trafford – Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law – on the front was appreciated by most, the same couldn’t be said for the colour choice.

The fan-designed grey jersey had fans fearing the worst given the side’s lack of luck the last time the players sported the colour.

Legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson was famously turned off grey kits in April 1996, when his United side was forced to change at half-time of a meeting with Southampton after going in at the break 3-0 down.

The players swapped the grey for their blue and white strip in the dressing room and were fined £10,000 by the FA for doing so.

“The players don’t like grey strip,” Fergie said after the game, which ended 3-1.

“The players couldn’t pick each other out. They said it was difficult to see their team-mates at distance when they lifted their heads.

“It was nothing to do with superstition. This club went 26 years without winning the league and we didn’t think about changing the red shirts. It’s nothing to do with that at all.”

United rolled out their new third strip on Wednesday evening for a preseason game with Barcelona in Maryland.

Neymar scored the match’s only goal and fans of the Red Devils jumped to the conclusion that it was no coincidence that United’s first defeat of the preseason came in the one game for which they wore grey.

They don’t expect to see much of it come the start of the season.