Middlesbrough Supporters Forum… Meeting 55

Monday 20th November 2023
18:30 – 20.00

Present MSF: Mark Motley (MM), (MG), Kulbir Kaur Peacock (KP), Nind Singh (NS), Rob Nichols (RN), Jeff Collins (JC), John Brunger (JB), John Donovan (JD), Jill Atkinson (JA), Chris Woods (CW)

Present MFC: Helena Bowman (HB) Yvonne Ferguson

Apologies: Paddy Cronesberry (PC), Ifshaan Mahmoud (IM), Owen Swift (OS), Caroline Walker (CW), Dana Malt (DM), Lee Fryett (LF), Paul Dews (PD)

1 – Stadium

MSF advised they had received feedback from disabled fans with concerns as a good percentage have breathing difficulties. And some are on permanent ventilation. MFC reiterated its stance on no Pyro’s within the stadium.
MFC advised an investigation is ongoing regarding pyrotechnics use within the ground.

Park & Ride
MFC confirmed they are having initial conversations with Arriva around this subject / general transport options and will be setting up a meeting to discuss options. MFC will also investigate options with other companies.

Persistent standing in seated areas
MFC are waiting for the design company to come back to them on this.
Guidelines and regulations say persistent standing in seating areas is dangerous, so club are looking at options to address this. It may be that the club pilot independent barriers in small sections ahead of doing anything major. Nothing confirmed now, MFC will continue to update.

Cycling Storage
MFC to add to club website information on areas fans can store bikes around the stadium. Will also add this to the pre match info that goes out.

Condition of seats in stadium
No plan to replace all seats. This was looked at a few years ago and the cost was in the millions. MFC will again look at the Motherwell example in relation to faded seats and report back.

Bars & Concourses
Some of the old Unibet areas have now been converted to bars and have pumps on them to support with demand. (West and North). Also planning permission has been granted to build another bar in the south stand. Will also be introducing a sink as a trial, in one area so supporters can fill up water bottles. Some changes will be visible next match.

2 – Football Green Weekend

This is February – Sunderland game.

MFC will have a collection of old electrical items that will then be recycled.

MFC will be planting trees.

There is now an allotment at training ground that under 12’s have built.
Local dementia group are also growing food that the MFC foundation will be donating.

MFC will also encourage fans to car share or use public transport for this game.

All lounges at the Riverside now have LED dighting and all lampposts around the stadium will be getting converted.

Separate working group for this weekend to be set up.

3 – Anti Racism Game Promotion

Feeling that more could be done to publicise these dedicated games as message is still missed.

Discussed what other routes do we have for promoting messages around this other than social media, programme, big screen, PA, and T-shirts worn by players as some supporters did not realise it was a dedicated game.

Could we do something with the corner flags, guest speakers in the fanzone, in game notifications on Boro App, a video by a player on the lead up to the game. MFC noted these to take away.

4 – Disabled Supporters Event

MFC are hosting their second meeting for disabled supporters, it is important that everyone is aware, and each group is to share the link.

Registration is now open for the next meeting which is taking place in the Legends Lounge on Thursday 7 December. Doors open at 5.45pm for a 6pm start, with an expected finish at around 7.45pm.

MFC plan to run this every quarter, eventually being led by Middlesbrough Disabled Supporters Association with support from MFC.

Question raised if BORO BAME ARMY could be afforded same privilege – was raised last year but MFC said on hold until YF returned full time and now to be taken up by Supporter Services.

5 – Ticketing

Ability for fans to achieve Gold Card Status
Ability to view the priority points of others in your network.
Ability to auto opt in to purchase cup tickets rather than having to purchase each time.
MFC advised that there is an opportunity to look at these items further over the next few months now that the new turnstile / digital ticketing rollout has imbedded. Some of these questions have previously been sent to Seatgeek, so MFC will follow up with them.

The lateness of away tickets going on sale
MFC have raised this point with Football League Head of Policy and have been advised to monitor this and report any instances they feel tickets are late.

Priority Points for buying the Video Pass could that be an option?
MFC advised they would need to take this away for further consideration.
MSF asked a further question to take away by MFC was in relation to those supporters who have a season card but work overseas. If they release a seat, or donate it to MFC, can those fans have the code to watch abroad.

Booking fees? Why are fans paying a fee for each ticket bought online? One fan bought 5 tickets for Bradford away that cost them an extra £7/£8 when they are all posted in same envelope.
MFC advised that club make no profit from booking fees. The Club are charged a fee per ticket by seatgeek, which is contractually sensitive so cannot provide the exact number but MFC also pay for ticket stock and further outlay for postage. This is how the booking fee is calculated.

Better rates for season card holders that pay for their season card over 12 months – How is this going?
MFC advised a working group has been put together behind the scenes are they are investigating options on this.

The payment system when purchasing tickets seems to be having issues?
A lot of us keep getting an ‘ok’ message and do not get a confirmation message on screen.
MFC advised Club has not received any reports of this. If supporters have examples and screenshots, please pass them on to the ticket office. Club will also make ticket office Manager aware of this.

GRFZ: Are there tickets available to buy on the day? If so, why were there no season tickets available in this area? Can these be either made available online or instructions on how you do purchase these?
There is an area in the north stand now for GRFZ match by match tickets – not available to season card holders. Tickets are not sold on the website for this area, club need to ensure children are under 11. The advice from MFC is that any families interested in the family zone / attending Riverside for first time and are looking for tickets match by match for this area would be to contact: supporters@mfc.co.uk

6 – Other

Are the club planning anything for its 150th Anniversary?
The club will do something, but at this stage nothing has been looked at in detail.

Have the club considered reviewing the club badge?
The club have but such a project would need to be done correctly and thoroughly considered.

Boro Bricks
MSF looking into cleaning options with MFC. MFC to send details over to MSF of a recent brick that has been cleaned.

Gambling logo on shirts
We can explore adult sizes minus gambling logos but would be permission from sponsors to do so, also the club did stock this previously but there was little to no take up. The club will explore the option for team to wear non branded kit to under 18 events.

FSA Meeting
Fan Advisory Boards
– discussions at last FSA meeting – legislation likely to be passed by next general election. Legislation expects all clubs to have something set up in future.

MSF Big Collection
Last collection raised £1462.79 and 372.93kgs food. Toys, coats and boots also donated.
Next collection 9th December.
Important collection ahead of Christmas
Collecting cash and food for foodbank, Toys for Salvation Army and Football Boots and warm winter coats for MFC Foundation / Michael Carrick Foundation.

8 – AOB
Testing of Hate Crime Text Line – successfully tested by KP and NS whilst stadium full. But couldn’t get online with app and web. Recommend further work needed.

Text Line is 07340 718965 – give full details of incident, stand. row, seat if possible.

Voting for chair, Treasurer, and vice chair
Agreed we need all members in attendance.
Members to consider if they want to put themselves forward for roles.
A date to be agreed with members outside meeting and then a date to be set for voting following an agreed process.

9 – Actions

1. Working group to be set up for green weekend.
2. Other methods of promoting activity around dedicated games to be looked at further.
3. Share the next disabled supporter’s event.
4. MFC to take forward the actions on gold cards and visibility of priority points.
5. MFC to pass on detail of recently cleaned brick.
6. Gambling logo on shirts questions to be looked into

7. Organise BORO BAME ARMY meet up.
8. Action list to be updated and monitored