“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...
1. United's grey kits
Incredibly, this isn't the first time that Manchester United have had issues with their kit melding into the background. Back in April 1996, the Reds rocked up to face Southampton at the Dell wearing a shirt that looked like the love child of some TV static and a migraine. By half-time, United were 3-0 down as their players struggled to pick each other out against the hubbub of supporters in the crowd. Sir Alex Ferguson ordered his players to change, and they went on to lose 3-1. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) Photo: Shaun Botterill
2. Mourinho blames the ball boys
The Special One loves a bit of a whinge, so it's no real surprise that he's come out with some cracking excuses over the years. Our personal favourite? His claim that Leicester City's ball boys had given the Foxes an edge when his Chelsea side lost at the King Power in 2015. “They [Leicester City] fought with everything, they defended with everything, and the ball boys were amazing too”, he said at the time. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) Photo: Clive Mason
3. Kenny Dalglish and Stevenage's bouncy balls
Football's should bounce, right? If not, the beautiful game would be like watching 22 men kick a bag of wet flour around for 90 minutes, and the novelty would wear off that pretty quickly. According to Scottish legend Sir Kenny Dalglish, however, footballs should bounce - but not too much. Back in 1998, Dalglish took his Newcastle United side to non-league Stevenage for an FA Cup tie that would end in a famous draw. The boss' excuse for the Magpies' failure to put the game to bed? Too much air in the match ball... (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Allsport) Photo: Shaun Botterill
4. James gets carried away on the PlayStation
A man so prone to disaster that his nickname was Calamity James, David hardly needed any outside interference or extra distractions when it comes to conceding howlers. It was shame, then, that by his own admission he spent much of the late '90s playing PlayStation until the early hours of the morning. "I was getting carried away playing Tekken II and Tomb Raider for hours on end", he said after shipping three against Newcastle in 1997. You'll get square eyes, Dave... (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images) Photo: Tom Shaw