Middlesbrough Supporters Forum……Meeting 24.

Held at Middlesbrough FC. Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough-7pm. Dec. 10th 2018.

In attendance were:-

Christopher Joseph Chair / President – M.S.F.

Peter Hodgson Secretary – Middlesbrough Supporters Forum

Caroline Walker Diversity – Middlesbrough Supporters Forum

Rob Nichols – Fly Me to the Moon Fanzine

Paddy Cronesberry – MDSA

John Donovan – Twe12th Man

Leigh Fisher – MOSC

Dave Roberts – Red Army TV

Mark Motley – MSS

David Joyes – Middlesbrough F C

Yvonne Ferguson – Middlesbrough FC

Per normal practice, after circulation to all parties by e-mail, the minutes of meetings 22 & 23 were accepted as read.

The Forum welcomed two fans – Daniel Tierney & Dave Griffiths as guests for the evening.

Matters arising from previous meeting:

Foodbank – YF & CW

Yvonne suggested that the next Foodbank event should be held on 26th January 2019 when we are at home to Bristol City. She also suggested that we should broaden the request for help to include children’s toys and “unwanted Christmas gifts”. John Donovan extended the suggestions to include “clothing”. YF & CW to investigate if the Foodbank people are happy to take these goods. PH also asked whether a new site could be alongside the Shepherdson Way wall, near the Ticket Collection Office at rear of main car park. Current site is very cold, windy and a little out of the way. Suggested site far more visible to potential donors.

P.R.Initiatives – DR

Dave reported on the “awareness of MSF” campaign over last 4 weeks. Interviews had been held with Gazette and Radio Tees who both gave good coverage of who we are and what we have achieved in our almost 2 years. Northern Echo have done another interview but have promised to put a more personal perspective on the supporting groups. MFC posted our history on the Club’s website too. There had also been increased media traffic on all our groups websites and media chat. It had been a very worthwhile exercise and raised some good things for us to investigate further.

Concourse Heating – CJ

Chris has spoken to Derby County FC and when Boro visit them on New Year’s Day he and Dave have been invited by their Liaison Officer and Facilities Manager for a tour around the ground prior to kick off with regards to their concourse heating system. The Facilities Manager has promised to show and explain their heating installation system and operating costs etc., Report to follow in January.

Safe Standing update – MP’s and Green Guide – CJ.

CJ has agreed to go with Middlesbrough MP and Shadow Transport Minister Andy MacDonald on a visit to Celtic Park to see the S.S. system in operation during their game on 26-01-2019. Celtic are happy to welcome them. Nothing further has been agreed between the Govt / Football authorities & Safety groups yet re- Green Guide recommendations. C.J. has contacted the new Sports Minister, Ms.MIMS DAVIES with the same offer.

Chris had also discussed with MP Andy MacDonald’s office, the idea of a “SPORTS FANS RAILCARD” to encourage fans of any sport, travelling by train to their events – qualifying for a special RAIL CARD DISCOUNT – the same concept as the Student or Seniors Railcard. It could generate a lot of travelling fans at quieter times on usage of main line trains. We should also continue to try and get a discussion with the new LNER authority which has taken over from Virgin about group travel and also discuss with CROSS COUNTRY RAIL, who we believe is to offer a “Rail Ticket Refund” OR swap for when a match gets re-arranged or cancelled. PH and RN will discuss and investigate. The Forum agreed this was a good initiative.

Items under A.O.B.

1) Riverside Stadium Internal identity. – from FMTTM fans – RN.

Several similar ideas put forward. Inside our stadium, it lacks “individual identity”. Suggestions that flags and banners are erected inside, also pictures, murals, old shirts etc., OUR IDENTITY could be stamped upon OUR stadium – and done in a nice way. Also, why not name some stands after our “legends” – “Juninho Bar” or the “Jimmy Platt Over the Bar bar” – even so far as to replace the mundane North, South East or West stands with ICONIC named stands. The Graeme Souness stand – The HOLGATE END stand – Wilf Mannion Stand – George Hardwick Stand. Daniel Tierney works at M’bro College of Art and could utilise students to create some lifestyle designs as part of their practical solutions work. Would need some sponsors to provide paint. Several ideas put forward – all were well in favour of this and DJ and YF said would take it back to the club.


2) Dockside Road Traffic issues – from FMTTM fan – RN

Issues re -coaches already parked on Dockside Road pulling away whilst fans are still in large numbers on that road out. Can Police consider extending traffic order along to Railway Crossing near Navigation pub. This is described as an accident waiting to happen. Was suggested this passed to Safety Officer Chris Patzelt. Also mentioned the issue of TAXI drop-offs. YF re-confirmed that these can take place up to ONE HOUR before kick off.


3) Stadium Big Screen TV – from FMTTM fan – RN

Rob reported queries re-content, music, adverts, info etc., YVONNE advised that this is an ongoing current discussion with the club. There is also the issue with the sound being out of sync with screen – this too, is under urgent discussion.


4) Stand naming – FMTTM – RN

Already covered in item 1 above.

5) Wheelchair access in concourse – – FMTTM – RN & PC

Was discussed in some detail re- a “hatched area “ for wheelchairs to move about concourse – BUT they are NOT wide enough to accommodate such a facility. Was also discussed – as a couple of meetings ago -about lowering counter levels for wheelchair users to be served drinks or food. YF was of the mind that some modifications had been made but she would check it and get back to us.

6) Away tickets application times – Red Faction

Red Faction reported about away match ticket applications being opened for booking at same time as BORO were having an away game so difficult for fans to apply. YF was surprised by that and would investigate further. Possibly make the opening time on a Thursday as a permanent time as we should NOT have a game at that time.

7) Policing at Riverside – Red Faction

Reported that after a couple of recent games, the police command brings round the “paddy wagon” and parks near the main exit from the car park along the paved area so fans MUST walk onto the road where cars are emerging onto that road. Dangerous in the extreme. Red Faction official had approached Police Officer and asked him to move vehicle about 20 mtrs or onto other side of the road which WOULD alleviate a potential dangerous issue. He received a sharp rebuttal of his suggestion accompanied by a quite sarcastic comment from the P.O. concerned. Asked that the Club ask Police look to move Van slightly. YF to act on this.

8) Disabled Supporters Annual Dinner – 21st January 2019 – PC

Paddy has asked if group members could rally round to try and drum up some decent raffle / tombola prizes for fund raising at his dinner. They have a major fund-raising challenge as a new bus is needed and they must raise almost £40,000 to meet their target. A few ideas were suggested, and group members said they will publicise and support Paddy’s efforts.

AOB – Various.

Daniel Tierney suggested a ticket bundle for say 5 games for people like himself who can only get to a limited number of games due to shift patterns etc. Also a suggestion re- a 2 or 3 game BONUS BUY TICKET for the FESTIVE PERIOD or even towards the end of the season run-in – how about a 4 or 5 last games FINAL RUN-IN TICKET with a small discount for paying a block booking price.  Could all generate PUBLICITY and EXTRA REVENUE for the Club. David Joyes was pleased with the ideas and would put forward for discussion.

Dave Griffiths commented on the MFC re-cycling efforts. Lots of plastic is used around the ground. His friend had asked if she could have her hot drink put into her own re-usable beaker but sales assistant said all she would be able to do was rip open the plastic cup anyway and pour ingredients into customers cup and throw original cup away into MFC bin!! Can we look at other, better options? YF said she would pursue matter.

9) Application for MSF group membership.

After all business was completed and MFC representatives and other guests had left the meeting, we discussed an application from a potential member to join MSF. A vote was held and the application was declined.

C.J. will inform the applicant accordingly.

There being no further business, Chris closed the meeting by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.

Our next meeting will be held at MFC on Monday 14th January, 2019.