Middlesbrough Supporters Forum – Meeting 3

Held at Middlesbrough FC., Riverside Stadium at 7pm – Monday 27th March, 2017.

Attendees were:-

Chris Joseph (Chairperson – pro-tem.) Middlesbrough Supporters Forum
Peter Hodgson (Secretary – pro-tem.) Middlesbrough Supporters Forum
Paddy Cronesberry, MBE Middlesbrough Disabled Supporters Association
Rob Nichols Fly Me To The Moon Fanzine
John Donovan The Twe12th Man Supporters Group
Leigh Fisher Middlesbrough Official Supporters Club
David Roberts RedArmy.TV – Sports Media Group
Representative Red Faction Fans Group
James Howell … (via SKYPE TV link) Middlesbrough Supporters South
Caroline Walker Fans’ Representative

We were also joined by Mark Ellis and Yvonne Ferguson on behalf of Middlesbrough FC.

Chris Joseph opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. Paul Dews from MFC sent his apologies.

Chris read through the minutes of the last meeting (no.2) which were agreed as correct and accepted as read. Proposed by Paddy Cronesberry. Seconded by Dave Roberts.

Matters arising from previous minutes:

Clarity on safe standing.

Rob Nichols gave further details re- the surveys on safe standing made previously by the Football Supporters Federation. He had spoken to the FSF who had said they would be willing to undertake a similar exercise on behalf of ourselves. Various other points were made about how the German and Scottish systems operate and they are not what most people “perceive” them to be. Mark Ellis also made the very pertinent point that most people when asked about safe standing would expect there to be more room for more people so prices could be cheaper. Mark explained that this is not the case and the safe standing space required is the same as that for seating, if not less. Dave Roberts suggested that using RedArmy.tv as a local platform for a fans survey would be very easy to arrange and we could also use FMTTM with its fans connection. It was decided that Rob should try to obtain copies of the 2 previous surveys from Liverpool & Man Utd so that we can see what form and depth these surveys actually were and what information they actually produced. This would obviously help us in any further discussions on this matter. Rob has also been invited to the next FSF meeting in London on 25th April as the MSF representative so will also be able to report back to us after that.

Away Travel issues.

Rob has had further talks with the Franchisee at Eaglescliffe and Chester-le-Street stations who has spoken further with Grand Central. They are very keen to put a package together as they do have lots of capacity on weekends. All agreed this is worth pursuing. Mark has also spoken again with Virgin Trains and they are also very keen to work with MFC to create a good train travel option for Boro fans locally….and for Boro fans in the South to travel UP NORTH to home games. The MFC reduced coach prices for both adult and junior travellers starting with the Swansea trip have been very well received by the travelling fans.

Audio visual match-day experience.

Various comments had been received about the pre-match “music experience”. The idea put in place for the Man Utd match (proposed from the last meeting) re- the gradual increase in volume over the last 30 minutes before kick-off had been well received until the last 3 musical excerpts suddenly BOOMED OUT in volume and were very loud indeed. Mark took on board what had been said and they would try to tweak the system further to level out the overall balance of volume. There had been no issues or comments re-the Light displays but it was pointed out that a fan who was an epilepsy sufferer had been taken ill at the game and was taken to hospital. She has made a full recovery after being kept in for 2 days. Yvonne & Mark both said that they were not aware that this had happened.

Fan Zone activity.

Yvonne announced that for the BURNLEY game (8th April) she has arranged a Fanzone between 12 noon and 2.45pm. There will be a variety of attractions for supporters with various activities which will be announced very shortly. Depending on the level of success this brings, MFC would like to introduce further Fanzones next season. All agreed that it looks like a very appealing event and will help engender a great pre-match atmosphere.

MIXED fan zones.

Leigh Fisher from MOSC asked about the introduction, as a trial, of a “mixed fan zone”. The idea being that a group of “invited fans” from an opposition team could be invited to attend a Riverside game, shared hospitality pre-game and /or seating could be arranged to try to extend the “family friendly“ atmosphere to other clubs’ fans. A quite lively discussion followed with concerns AND encouragement. It was suggested that away families could be invited to the Generation Red Family Zone to experience the award-winning match day entertainment. Generally considered to be a worthy idea, it was felt more in-depth thought needed to be given, based upon the more obvious problems that may arise….and how we could decide on WHO to invite. It was suggested maybe it could be considered for a pre-season friendly game. Definitely a worthy suggestion from Leigh. Yvonne would consider it further and we will discuss it again.


Dave Roberts reported that from 31st March, the RedArmy.tv football programme, previously seen on YouTube will now become part of the “MADE IN TEESSIDE” free-to-air TV channel. Now able to be seen on FREEVIEW 7 channel or VIRGIN 159, the locally produced Boro Fans TV channel can be seen as above at 7pm on Friday nights, with various other times also shown as repeats.
Dave offered the RedArmy programme to all other member organisations as a publicity platform to promote their own organisations events and news throughout the season, offering benefits to us all.

Request to publish Minutes of MSF on FMTTM.

A short discussion about this took place and it was felt that it would help MSF to get their message and philosophy across to a wide range of people interested in MFC and football in general. It would also highlight the good work put in by the member groups on this Forum. Rob Nichols offered to publish a copy of the minutes on FMTTM, Dave Roberts offered RedArmy TV platform notice boards and Mark Ellis offered to see if it was possible to put a copy on the MFC website. All agreed it would be a good step forward but it was also felt that there needed to be a proviso, that member groups would not publish the draft minutes. Everyone will have 48 hours to provide any corrections on the draft minutes. The final version will then be issued and members can publish that on their own websites with immediate effect. This is purely for reasons of accuracy.


Chris Joseph explained that we had secured the domain name for the website. The chosen web designer will now start to build the site and we hope to get things up and running in mid-April. The Bank Account has been set-up by Chris Joseph and Peter Hodgson and we should have the account open within 2 weeks.


Mark Ellis asked could we all notify our fan groups that the “DEADLINE DAY” for the various “early bird offers” on Season Card sales and Save Your Seat arrangements will end on Friday next, 31st March 2017.

There being no further issues to discuss, Chris offered thanks to everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 9.00pm.

Next meeting is to be held on Monday 24th April at The RedArmy.tv offices at BOHO 5 from 6.30pm for a 7.00pm start.