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21st Jul 2017

Sir Alex Ferguson would not be a fan of Manchester United’s new third kit

The strip's designer has explained his decision

Darragh Murphy

It’s always a risk giving power to football supporters.

That’s precisely what Manchester United did as they prepared to get creative with the design for their third kit for the 2017/18 season.

The Red Devils, in conjunction with kit manufacturer adidas, opened up a competition in which fans were encouraged to come up with a new strip and Aniello Carotenuto was the supporter whose below effort won out.

The third kit, which is light grey in colour and pays tribute to the so-called Holy Trinity of United – Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law – on the front, was unveiled on Friday morning and while the nod to three of the greatest players ever to feature at Old Trafford has been acknowledged as a wonderful touch, some fans are less happy about the colour.

Former manager Sir Alex Ferguson found out in no uncertain terms that grey is not exactly ideal when it comes to football strips, as his United side was forced to change kits at half-time of a 1996 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.”

Fergie didn’t mince his words at half-time and ordered the switch, and his problem with grey strips continued for the remainder of his tenure.

“The manager just stormed in and said: ‘Get that kit off, you’re getting changed’,” Lee Sharpe told The Guardian in 2006.

“Those were the first words he said at half-time. I don’t think he liked the shirt anyway – our results had been poor whenever we wore it, and we certainly never played in it again.”

Supporters couldn’t help themselves as they reminded the club about Ferguson’s issue with grey strips in the replies to the official unveiling.

The kit’s designer, meanwhile, has explained his decision.

“I wanted to make something special, something unique. One of the most iconic things about Manchester United is the Trinity,” Carotenuto said

“Another important thing is Old Trafford. I tried to match them together. It’s probably the best day of my life. If it is a dream, don’t wake me up!”