Middlesbrough Supporters Forum……Minutes 52
Monday 21st August 2023 / 18:30 – 20.00 at Riverside Stadium
Mark Motley (MM), Jill Atkinson (JA), Michelle Coleman (MC), Matthew Gale (MG), Kulbir Kaur Peacock (KP), Nind Singh (NS), Rob Nichols (RN), Jeff Collins (JC), John Brunger (JB), Owen Swift (OS), Caroline Walker (CS)
Lee Fryett (LF), Helena Bowman (HB), Paul Dews (PD)
Yvonne Ferguson (YF), John Donovan (JD), Paddy Cronesberry (PC), Ifshaan Mahmoud (IM), Red Faction (RF), Dana Malt
1. Digital Ticketing
The phased roll out of digital ticketing was introduced for the first home game of the season. MFC explained that that the previous software and hardware was becoming obsolete, having been in place for several years. To mitigate any future risks, MFC invested in new kit, which included mobile ticketing technology to future proof themselves.
Following feedback from supporters MSF noted their concerns regarding some of the issues they had experienced on the first day such as queues at the turnstiles, more signage, and the ability to forward tickets on to family and friends.
MFC acknowledged that there were problems with entry to the stadium at certain turnstiles at the first home game which created some large queues. However, MFC advised that this was not a digital ticketing issue but an unfortunate electrical fault on some of the card readers that delayed entry and needed to be re-set by an electrician. Once re-set supporters were then able to gain entry.
MFC also advised more signage has now been placed around the stadium to help supporters with the entry process and the forwarding ticket option is being rectified.
Around 5000 supporters had been part of the first phase of the rollout. Learnings from phase 1 will be taken into future phases. The next phase is likely to be ring fenced to certain turnstiles to help with control and support.
MSF acknowledged that phased and controlled approach was the correct way, especially having seen far worse major issues occur at other clubs over that same weekend.
2. Riverside Stadium TLC
MM advised that MSF had received lots of feedback regarding the upkeep of the stadium. Parts of the stadium looking worn and needing a clean, as well as supporters asking about replacement of seats that are broken or faded.
MFC advised gradual improvements will be made to the stadium over time. This season a substantial amount has been invested in replacing the PA system which is expected to be active from mid-October and replacing all the ticket readers, all of which had been in place since the stadium had opened over 25 years ago.
MFC advised that in relation to broken seats, supporters can report these issues to stewards on a match day or get in touch with the club and they will be dealt with.
3. Safe Standing
MFC advised that ongoing discussions are taking place with supporter groups around this subject. Several meetings held pre-season. Several aspects need to be considered such as cost, locations, away end, health & safety, and supporter feedback.
4. Reciprocal Ticket Pricing
MSF asked for an update on their request to consider reciprocal ticket pricing with Leeds Utd, meaning Boro fans travelling to the Leeds away game would pay less than normal.
MFC advised that they had spoken to Leeds Utd about options, and there are a few things that need to be noted and considered ahead of making any final agreement.
MFC advised that the deal with Leeds means that clubs taking part would need to drop their prices to their lowest category pricing.
From a Riverside Stadium point of view, this would mean Leeds fans would pay £32 in the East Stand at the Riverside and Boro fans purchasing match by match tickets (non-season card holders) in the same stand would pay £35.
It should also be noted that Leeds fans would be paying £15 more to sit in the same stand as Boro fans at Elland Road and we do not yet have confirmation on our ticket price for the away fixture. (To note – The price of ticket at Elland Road this season is between £45 – £47 depending on the category.
After consultation with MFC, MSF strongly back a reciprocal ticket price deal with Leeds Utd as it will mean Boro fans will potentially save £15.
MSF feel helping loyal travelling Boro fans to make a considerable saving on their ticket is the right thing to do, especially in times when everything else is so expensive.
5. Half Season Cards
MFC advised MSF of the decision to no longer sell half season cards.
MSF questioned this decision as it was previously mentioned that conversion rates from half season cards to full season cards had been high and the club had good sales at Christmas.
MSF advised it was against this move and would raise the point again at future meetings as they believe this will not go down well with supporters.
6. Membership Schemes
MFC advised that the new membership scheme will launch during the first half of the season and much of the benefits discussed with MSF will feature.
7. Carer / PA Tickets
MSF advised that they had been contacted by a several unhappy supporters regarding the changes to the Personal Assistant / Carers tickets and priority points.
MSF advised that they had been able to understand the changes a bit more by speaking with MDSA reps within the forum.
MFC advised that they had been speaking with supporters individually about the changes, as well as Level Playing field and MFC’s DLO.
MSF advised they would like to get a full list of dates for the season for foodbank collections and would be speaking to YF to arrange.
Next meeting is scheduled:
Monday 2nd October