MIDDLESBROUGH FANS GROUP SURVEY REVEALS CHAMPIONSHIP SUPPORTERS AWAY TRAVEL CONCERNS
Virtually all Championship club supporters believe a league-wide price cap on away tickets should be put in place.
Research* carried out by Middlesbrough Supporters Forum (MSF) showed that 97% of fans were in favour of a maximum price for away tickets with £20 or £25 being seen as a fair cost.
However, when making decisions which away matches to attend three considerations were key:
Day/time of the game – 35%
Distance – 26%
Costs of tickets – 12.5%
The conduct of fans, which has hit the headlines several times over the last couple of seasons, was a concern for many with 72% of those who responded saying they had seen a rise in anti-social behaviour at football matches.
When asked if they had travelled to Middlesbrough at any time to watch their team 26% of responders said no. The main reasons given were distance, cost of travel and cost of ticket. However, a number of comments were made including ‘difficult and expensive to get to when using public transport’ ‘Not much to see or do nearby and not many nice eating places nearby’ ‘Impossible to get back from midweek matches’ ‘The distance is the main reason’.
Lower ticket prices, better transport links, a guide to Middlesbrough and more to do before and after the match were given as things that could be done to attract bigger away followings.
Comments included ‘It’s not a long walk from the station, but I’d give a guide to pubs that welcome away fans en route’ ‘It would be good to have a guide for away fans – maybe a link could be sent with away tickets or printed on the back of tickets – for parking, pubs and places to eat that welcome away fans’ ‘Safe standing for those who wish to stand at away matches, accompanied by the option to sit for those who wish to sit/can’t stand’ ‘A voucher to try a Parmo!’
Mark Motley, chair of MSF said: “We were keen to find out why many fans are reluctant to travel to Boro to follow their team as we have a fairly low away attendance at many games.
“The research showed us that it is a combination of issues, some of which are out of the club’s control – Middlesbrough can’t be geographically moved! However, there are some things including ticket prices and better and comprehensive information for away fans that could be considered.
“As a fans’ group we are firmly in favour of a price cap on away tickets and that is obviously reflected across all clubs with an overwhelming vote in favour.
“The other, less positive, thing to come out of our survey is the rise in anti-social behaviour. This reflects the anecdotal feedback MSF is getting from Boro supporters at away games, and something that we are working with Middlesbrough FC to understand what can be done to crack down on this.”
*Research carried out June 2022 – 144 responses from 19 Championship clubs