Middlesbrough Supporters Forum……Meeting 21.

Held at Middlesbrough FC.Riverside Stadium,Middlesbrough-7pm.Oct.8th2018.

Attendees were: –

Peter Hodgson Secretary – Middlesbrough Supporters Forum

Christopher Joseph President – Middlesbrough Supporters Forum

Paddy Cronesberry, MBE. MDSA

Rob Nichols Fly Me to the Moon Fanzine

Yvonne Ferguson Middlesbrough FC

Jim Wilson MOSC

John Donovan Twe12thMan Group

Dave Roberts Red Army TV

David Joyes Middlesbrough F C

Apologies for non-availability were received from the following members :-

Caroline Walker Chair – Middlesbrough Supporters Forum Mark Motley Middlesbrough Supporters South Representative Red Faction Fans Group

Because of Caroline’s non-availability she has asked Dave Roberts to chair the meeting.

Per normal practice, after circulation to all parties by e-mail, the minutes of meeting 20 were accepted as read.

Following the published agenda the following was discussed: –

1) RN gave an update about the Leeds game issues with fans ticketing and entry issues. Apparently LUFC have stated that they received several enquiries re compensation and they have dealt with these – however, we were informed that one family from BORO have been awarded a refund of £160 towards cost of tkts and travel inconvenience after writing to Leeds with the assistance of the Football Supporters Federation. Yvonne said that there may be others who have or have not been compensated but have not made others aware so far. We would like to appeal to anyone that was wrongly stopped from entering Elland Road and has not received compensation to get in touch.

2) CJ and PH presented an up-date on the Forum’s current finances. PH handed round a copy of current financial statement and a balance sheet covering from our inauguration in Jan 2017 to the end of Sept. 2018. There was one issue arising which was to how does the issue of FINANCIAL OPERATING COSTS be addressed on an on-going basis. It is difficult to produce a budget for the MSF as we are a reaction committee and lots of the information we re-act to does not need any financial outlay. We are grateful to MFC for the use of a room for our meetings which incurs no cost to us. Member groups and individuals such as the Hon President, current Chair and Secretary paid an initial payment for set-up costs of £50 per group / officer and we were also given an initial donation from MFC of £100.

These costs were used up by August 2018 and so a further request for working capital funds was requested. One group raised an objection to being asked for a further donation of £50. It was explained that the MSF needed minimal amounts of money to exist and operate. Professional advice and expertise from many advantageous organisations had helped us in this first 18 months – and most help was given FOC through existing friendships with members of the committee. The use of funds is only ever used as a last resort and scrutinised carefully. NOBODY takes any expenses for their work involved in keeping the MSF operational. WITHOUT a source of income – the MSF would NOT be able to operate. The one member who had an issue with this request said he would speak again

to his members – and he has now paid in his donation of £50. All other member groups have now also contributed as on the first occasion. Thanks are passed on. Funds are now back in a reasonably healthy position. It was also suggested that we adopt a more defined strategy of financial funding and to have this written into the constitution. As we have several members absent this evening, it was agreed to postpone this discussion to a later date when all members are present. Prop to arrange further discussion asap re-possible change to Constitution…

Proposed by C.J. Joseph – 2nded by P. Hodgson .

3) FSF London meeting on Monday 29th October. Rob has been invited to attend on our behalf. Will be usual meeting with update on many issues. All were in favour of Rob attending. Dave Roberts also made us aware that the FA have stated on 29th August on a BBC comment, that they are now willing to back the Rail Seating / Safe Standing initiative being trialled in the Championship and the Premiership which is good news. It was also suggested that we ask for latest information on 1) Safe Standing 2) Reciprocal pricing deals for travelling supporters for a £30 MAX ticket price as has been successfully worked in previous seasons.

4) Update on seasonal survey by MFC. Yvonne & David commented on the original MFC survey that has been discussed previously. A total of 6,875 season ticket cardholders were targeted and MFC received 1,662 responses – which is about 24%. Issues suggested for improvement were as follows :-


Food & drink queues – still too long – improvements to staff, drinks dispensers etc all being reviewed

More TV’s please – under review – is an on-going basis

Restricted concourses – need more space /extra serving points – plans being considered for temporary/semi-permanent stack /container bars to spread fans groups about certain “outside areas of ground” – will ease pressure on pinch points of fans passage into stadium.

Matchday experience …..

Goal Celebration Music – 69% in favour of music being played

Pre-match and Half-time entertainment – work in progress on lots of ideas.

Stewards attitudes – familiarisation training for stewards to operate in certain areas and create special bond with regular fans.

Big SCREEN TV and concourse – Use these as a means of telling fans what is happening around the stadium. Did everyone know about the foodbank or the

Family Fun Day. More local dissemination of information will help.


Stock issues ………now sorted – plenty of stock

Communication Lines with MFC …… Premium rate lines now ceased.

Anniversary 3rd Team Shirt – LOT of bad feeling from fans about cost of £75

Away ticket sales ……. Log-on system is NOT LIKED. Still confusing to many. Actions being taken to improve things quickly. Ticket sales start time of 6 pm is now a regular service and well used.

ROB asked if it is possible for the Ticket Office to SIMPLIFY the PURCHASE SYSTEM on the MFC website. Yvonne said she will take this up with the Ticket Office.

5) A. O. B.

Caroline Walker sent in a question from Leigh Fisher at MOSC. A group named “For CLUB & COUNTRY” are raising funds to plant trees in memory of footballers who died in W.W.1. It was decided to write to Leigh to ask for suggestions on how MSF and possibly MFC can assist. Noted.

Yvonne revealed that MFC are already in the process of planting a tree in memory of footballers who died in WW1.

Rob Nichol also brought up the issue of “walk up tkt prices and teenage “crossover age” prices. Brief discussion. This will need more discussion as there could be some common benefits from it for the club and the fans. Noted.

Robert wished to put it on record his disappointment and disapproval of the new third shirt recently unveiled by Boro. He said many fans objected to the £75 as extremely excessive and that it directly contradicts the image of a community club in an economically struggling community.

Also the old chestnut of “Loyalty cards” was raised again and should be discussed further. Noted.

Chris Joseph mentioned a letter forwarded to him via MOSC from Will Charlton re- the possibility of the MAJOR PREMIERSHIP clubs looking to breakaway to form a European Super League. Was suggested as a matter for future discussion when further information to hand. Noted.

Meeting closed at 9.05pm. Chair thanked all for their attendance.

NEXT MEETING WILL BE AT MFC ON MONDAY 12th November 2018 @ 7pm.