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...
5. Ukraine and their noisy frogs
Playing Spain in 2006 was no easy task at the best of times - let alone if you'd had barely any shut eye the night before. Ukraine found that out to their detriment at the German World Cup, when they were dismantled 4-0 in a game that could justifiably be labelled a "drubbing". The Ukrainians' excuse for their shambolic display that day? A sleepless night prior to the game thanks in large part to some particularly noisy frogs that had taken up residence near their training camp. According to defender Vladislav Vashchuk, it go so bad that he and his teammates decided to go out in the middle of the night and hunt the rowdy amphibians "with sticks". Genuinely. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Photo: Clive Mason
6. The ghost of Lord Nelson
Even by the lofty standards set on this list, Blackpool's excuse for making a pig's ear of their 1996 play-off tie against Bradford City is a humdinger. The Seasiders threw away a two-goal lead against the Bantams, and subsequently suggested that it may have been the result of a curse from none other than British naval hero and esteemed column-topper Lord Horatio Nelson. You see, Blackpool's boardroom at the time was kitted out in wood panelling made from Nelson's old ship, The Foudroyant. As explained by stadium manager John Turner: "It is an old maritime superstition that sailing folk take exception to anything on their ships being touched, which could explain these strange events”. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)
Photo: Lewis Storey
7. Lescott's pocket tweet
A true classic of the genre. Joleon Lescott tweeted a photo of a souped-up Mercedes from his official account just hours after he and his Aston Villa had been taken to the cleaners in a 6-0 thrashing against Liverpool. Understandably, many fans were less than happy with this flashy display of ostentation. Lescott's explanation for the blunder? "The tweet sent out from my account involving a picture of a car was totally accidental it happened whilst I was driving and my phone was in my pocket". Sure, Joleon, whatever you say, pal. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Photo: Catherine Ivill
8. Peratta cursed by ginger kid
Apparently, in Argentina it is considered extremely unfortunate to have red hair. As harsh as that may seem, Sebastien Peratta would be willing to vouch for the hex-like powers of a well-placed ginger. The former Newell's Old Boys saw a 2-0 lead transform into a 3-2 defeat against relegation strugglers San Lorenzo in 2012 after it was alleged that dirty tricks had come into play. Coach Ricardo Caruso Lombardi had sent red-headed ball boy Franco Robledo behind Peratta's goal at half-time, precipitating his side's collapse. All wrongdoing was denied. (Photo by JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty Images)
Photo: JUAN BARRETO