Middlesbrough Supporters Forum……Meeting 25

Held at Middlesbrough FC. Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough-7pm. Jan. 14th 2019.

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

Jimmy Wilson                                      MOSC

Dave Roberts                                        Red Army TV

Mark Motley                                         MSS

Representative                                     Red Faction group

David Joyes                                           Middlesbrough F C

Yvonne Ferguson                                 Middlesbrough FC

Per normal practice, after circulation to all parties by e-mail, the minutes of meetings 24 were accepted as read.

Apologies received from Andy Wilson of Yarm Reds who was required to work late and was unable to attend as our invited guest tonight.

PH also reported that we had received a letter of thanks from one of our guests at mtg 23 – David Tierney. He made a few good suggestions on the night and he said he really appreciated the insight as to the work of MSF.

Matters arising from previous meeting:

Foodbank – YF & CW

Yvonne suggested that as the game on 26th Jan would be the NEWPORT FA Cup tie – would it be better if we moved the FOODBANK collection to our home game against QPR on 23rd Feb.  This suggestion was AGREED. PH also reminded YF whether a new site could be alongside the Shepherdson Way wall, near the Ticket Collection Office at rear of main car park. It was suggested 2 meetings ago. Better position than current site which is very cold, windy and a little out of the way. Far more visible to potential donors. YF agreed & will see what new arrangements could be made.

Concourse Heating – CJ

Dave reported with a brief video presentation of the visit by himself and CJ to Derby County FC on New Years’ Day. They were given a very thorough tour around Pride Park by their Liaison Officer and Facilities Manager prior to kick off to check out their Central Heating system on the public concourses.  The Facilities Manager discussed installation, operational and running costs involved and DR & CJ were amazed to learn that the current system costs LESS THAN £100 to run on a normal match-day.

The system is simple to install.  Most of the work was carried out by their own tradesmen and ground staff.   They will be forwarding on a breakdown on installation and operating costs to us.

They have also seen a very substantial increase on numbers of fans coming to the ground earlier and this has had a good increase on F & B sales each game. They have also taken the opportunity to install several new style catering kiosks and they have also proved very successful. It shows that fans are happy to get to the ground earlier and eat there rather than staying in the town. General feeling of their fans is that it is a great improvement for fans comfort and wellbeing.

Derby County are so impressed, that they have produced a document guideline for other clubs to see – and they are arranging to hold an open-day seminar at the end of February and inviting all the other Football Clubs to attend and see the comfort and financial benefits an initiative like this can bring. David and Yvonne expressed a keen interest in this idea and are planning on sending people from MFC to Pride Park for the meeting.

Safe Standing update – CJ & PH

CJ & PH have 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.

They will also take the opportunity to bring to Andy MacDonald’s notice, other suggestions such as the SPORTS FANS RAILCARD, discussing the chaotic situation of last-minute cancellations imposed upon fans by the PL, EFL and TV operators and the repercussions on fans pockets.  PH also mentioned that EVERTON FC have applied for planning to build their new stadium near the river and to look to open by 2021/22. IMPORTANT to note that they plan for a stadium of 57 to 65,000 capacity BUT most importantly, they include Safe Standing areas – one each for both home and away fans.

Full report of the CELTIC FC trip in February’s meeting.

P.R.Initiatives – DR

Dave reported that from mtg 23 & 24 – articles to promote the work of MSF had been promoted by The Gazette & Northern Echo and Chris, Dave and Rob had also featured on local radio programmes explaining our ideas and campaigns – and inviting people to check us out on the website.   We had certainly received an increase in media traffic and had more queries to discuss for this meeting (25) than any previous agenda.

Items under A.O.B.

There had been quite a lot of questions from the various group sites following on from mtg 24.

  1. Riverside identity & naming of stands
  2. Dockside Road traffic safety and taxi/ disabled access
  3. Stadium Big screen TV
  4. Wheelchair access on concourse

All the above issues had been discussed very recently & answers are available on previous minutes or are still in discussion at MFC.

  1. Still no answer to supporter complaint re-racist issues at Stoke City game.

   DJ said the he has spoken to Chris Patzell earlier today. Chris has spoken to Stoke City and has also sent a reply to the man who complained originally.


  1. Coach prices and concessions for juniors. It was confirmed that concessions are still in place as agreed in 2017.


  1. Suggestion for club to offer a free away trip to a match before end of season.

Yvonne said she would take it back to MFC.

  1. Meal deals for families with kids.  Kids type meals. Wider style of fast-food offers.

Yvonne reported that lots of ideas for new style of catering plans for next season have been on-going for some months to have ready for 2019/20.   Shona to be invited to an upcoming meeting to discuss MFC future catering facilities to cover all food & drink issues raised above.

  1. POP-UP Bars – great idea.

YF said this is already under consideration and on-going.

  1. Discount packages of tickets for end of season run-in BOOST to crowd numbers. Would incentivise groups, schools, shift workers, armed forces.

YF stated that she would take it forward but MFC already offer all sorts of discounts and discretionary packages throughout the season.

  1. Market research offer from USA.

Rob Nichol had received a “marketing offer” from an American direct-selling company.  Was not followed up as thought not suitable for MSF.

  1. Match times & dates -SHORT NOTICE.

Ron said he’d received many complaints about just over 2 weeks notice for Newport game. Not conducive for making reasonable plans for such a long journey.  Glad WE were at home. FSF had already contacted the FA who had re-assured the FSF that times were sorted as soon as ALL dates could be confirmed.  Rob was asked to send a letter expressing our concerns that the ordinary fan is STILL getting a poor deal on travelling arrangements due to awkward timings of games.


There being no further business, CJ thanked everyone for their input and closed the meeting at 8:40pm. 

Next meeting will be here at MFC on Monday 11th February, 2019.