Old Trafford.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)Old Trafford.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Old Trafford. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The 10 most bizarre excuses in footballing history - From Lord Nelson's ghost to ginger ball boys

“Weaselling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals… except the weasel.” – Homer Simpson

If you tuned in to watch Manchester United’s recent home win over Brighton, you may have noticed that things at Old Trafford were a little darker than usual.

No, we’re not referring to Harry Maguire’s defensive skullduggery, or even the gloom of watching their noisy neighbours romp their way to a fifth Premier League title, but rather the swathes of black material that covered the stands in lieu of actual supporters.

It turns out, however, that this was not simply a cosmetic choice designed to give the Reds an edgy, emo aesthetic.

Instead, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that it was a change made to help his players win matches. No, really.

The Norwegian boss said: "We've looked into this.

"There shouldn't be a reason, really, but some of the players have mentioned that split-second decision you have to make where you look over your shoulder to see if your team-mate is there or not and the red shirt is on a red background with red seats.

"You'll see a change now, if you see the banners around the club it's not red anymore."

Bizarre as it may be, perhaps there is some method in United’s interior design madness.

The Reds have won just 54.2% of their home matches this term, with the equivalent away figure coming in at 65.4%.

With that in mind, we’ve taken a closer look at some of the other strangest excuses in footballing history below...