Collect United: A new pre-match routine

Friday 15 September 2023 10:55

Do you have a routine before Manchester United games?

Perhaps you wear a lucky shirt, or kiss the crest before kick-off? Maybe you insist on sitting in the same place on the sofa, or always enjoy a pre-match pie at the ground?

Rituals are part and parcel of the matchday experience for many – and it’s not just fans who partake in them. Plenty of players have revealed their own, sometimes unusual pre-match habits in the past, from putting their shinpads on last to eating the same food, to putting salt in their socks (see below!).

They help us focus on the 90 minutes ahead and now there’s a new, exciting routine to United matchdays – collecting the match.

Thanks to our free rewards programme, Collect United, you can collect fun digital mementoes before each of our home games and use that routine to unlock bigger rewards* across the season, including match tickets and signed merchandise.

Read about some of our past and present players’ rituals below and start your own by visiting and downloading the new design that has dropped ahead of this weekend’s clash with Brighton and Hove Albion.


It’s fair to say Ella Toone has her matchday routine locked down. The United Women star may have stopped singing Something Tells Me I’m Into Something Good when she wakes up, but the midfielder still follows several regular patterns.

"I wear the same underwear – obviously I wash it!" our no.7 told us earlier this year. "Millie Turner always puts my GPS on and then, before kick-off, I shout ‘come on, girls, straight in!’. Those are my main three.

"And I have the same pre-match meal every game, no matter what time kick-off is: bagel, avocado, poached eggs, beans and orange juice."

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It’s no surprise that Bruno Fernandes likes to be focused on the game in plenty of time, ensuring he speaks with his family before he leaves the team hotel because he stops using his phone after getting on the team bus. And the club captain has another superstition just before kick-off.

"I always enter the pitch with the left foot first,” the Portuguese maestro said last year. "That is something I always do, something that I believe can help me in some way. Not to get a better performance but to be myself."

Bruno’s compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo did (and still does) the same thing with his right foot.


Former kit manager Albert Morgan witnessed some unusual superstitions during his long stint with United under Sir Alex Ferguson, from Paul Ince’s refusal to don his shirt until he made it onto the pitch or Rio Ferdinand’s risky decision to eschew boxer shorts.

And Morgan offered an interesting revelation about an Eric Cantona ritual while taking part in the UTD Podcast back in 2020.

"Eric used to want the same pair of socks," recalled Morgan. "If we were playing in black socks, he’d want the same pair we had before. The girls used to stitch a little cross in them so we knew they were Eric’s socks. Whatever colour we had, he’d want the same ones.

"He used to want a salt pot. He’d get the pot, put the salt in his hand and then put the salt in the sock and then put his socks on. I christened him ‘salt and vinegar feet’. If it did the trick for him, it did the trick."

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Imagine being sat behind the goal before kick-off at Old Trafford and catching a pair of goalkeeper gloves thrown by Peter Schmeichel? That was a possibility at virtually every home game during the Great Dane’s spell, as he would finish his warm-up by hurling his mitts into the Stretford End and sprinting down the tunnel, before pulling on his match gloves in the dressing room.


Gary Neville revealed a unique pre-match ritual involving United Review and a toilet when speaking to us back in 2019.

"I sat in the players’ lounge toilets – the same cubicle – for 15 minutes," the former club captain said.

"When the boss finished his team talk, I’d get my kit on and sit on the toilet, with the lid down, and read the programme in complete peace for 15 minutes. Tranquillity. I did that every game."


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New technology is bringing United fans incredible experiences. Now it's your turn.


Make our exclusive digital collectibles a part of your pre-match routine in 2023/24. Download your free memorabilia from the Brighton match by visiting

The only catch is the design is only available for a limited time - the final 48-hour window before kick-off. As our Premier League clash with the Seagulls is due to start at 15:00 BST on Saturday, it means you have from the same time today (Thursday) to claim your free digital collectible for this game.

*For the full terms and conditions of these rewards, please head to

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