Minutes of Middlesbrough Supporters Forum Meeting 11.

Middlesbrough Supporters Forum……Meeting 11.

Held at Middlesbrough F.C., Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough @ 7pm. 11th Dec. 2017.

Attendees were :-

Caroline Walker                                                           Chair – Middlesbrough Supporters Forum

Peter Hodgson                                                          Secretary – Middlesbrough Supporters Forum

Christopher Joseph                                                     President – Middlesbrough Supporters Forum

David Roberts                                                               RedArmy.tv

Paddy Cronesberry, MBE                                          Middlesbrough Disabled Supporters Assn.

Rob Nichols                                                                    Fly Me to The Moon Fanzine

John Donovan                                                          Twe12thMan Group.

Representative                                                             Red Faction Fans Group

Steve Rock                                                                    Middlesbrough Official Supporters Club

Mark Motley                                                                 Middlesbrough Supporters South

We were also joined by Mark Ellis and Yvonne Ferguson of Middlesbrough FC.


A slightly delayed start was made as Yvonne Ferguson ( on behalf of MFC ) had very kindly provided food and refreshments for all attendees. It was met with very appreciative comments.  Caroline eventually welcomed everyone to the meeting and offered our thanks to Yvonne and Mark for their kind gesture.

As per normal practice, after circulation to all parties by e-mail, the minutes of mtg 10 were accepted as read.

Matters arising from minutes of meeting 10.

Update on MPs contact re- “safe standing” issues:

Caroline reported that further communications had been received from several of the MP offices reporting that they were all basically in support of our initiative and would be looking to hold a further group meeting to see exactly how they would be able to support us further on specific matters.  She will write to thank them for their support but will point out that we need to find out exactly which direction we need to pursue to achieve the correct outcome for this matter and we will keep them informed of next steps. It is also vitally important from our side to ensure that the whole issue does not become a “political issue” as opposed to OUR initiative.

Caroline stated that in the last few weeks we had received 2 or 3 different perspectives from various sources as to the ABSOLUTELY CORRECT ACTION that needs to be followed to achieve acceptance of ANY Safe Standing changes within our stadia. The FSF offered TWO different points of view as to whether the issue is subject to LEGISLATIVE CHANGE or is only subject to STADIA Safety Advisory Group standards.

MFC advised that the strict legal requirement is that we provide seated accommodation only for all spectators.  Standing is not illegal but persistent standing must be managed as an unsafe practice and contravenes Ground Regulations and could have implications regarding the licence issued by the Sports Ground Safety Authority.”   It is certainly a “grey area” that needs clarification. It may well be that the acceptance of SS in Scotland is not a legislative issue BUT the elements of “doubt”    or “confusion” need to be addressed further before we make any further decisions in how we can utilise the MP influence for change.

Caroline suggested that she and Rob, assisted by Chris when necessary, undertake to drive this forward.   Rob Nicholls is attending a meeting with MP in Westminster in relation to Safe Standing at the end of January so we hope that this meeting may start to clarify some of the anomalies which appear to pervade any discussions on this matter.  Rob offered to keep us informed of the outcome of this meeting.

Fans Supporting Food Banks:

Fund-raising efforts for Food and Clothing Aid for the homeless and other charitable organisations by several member groups was discussed again relative to their efforts over the Christmas /Winter period.    Yvonne suggested again, that it might work well if all our groups co-ordinated their efforts and organised things on a more formal basis, then it was possible that MFC could provide a drop-off /pick-up point at the Riverside Stadium. Our independent groups could then manage the collection points and distribution alongside their own community work.     Yvonne suggested that a new “launch date” for the joint initiative could be for “Valentine’s Day” 2018.  Needs further discussion but MFC are keen and willing to assist.    CW to meet YF to discuss further.

Sponsorship for website:

CJJ reported that this is still subject to discussion with the potential sponsor.

Business Cards:

A Forum member offered their services to design a “generic” Business Card for the MSF.   We are thankful for the offer and await their ideas for discussion.

Fans Bet:

Further to last month’s comments, there had been no further movement in the proposal made to Dave on behalf of FansBet.    Dave will keep us up to date with any further news.

Use of pyrotechnics inside the stadium and surrounding area. (M. Ellis)

After recent incidents involving fans use of “pyrotechnics” at games, MFC have been issued a formal warning letter from the FA.  The concern is that any future use could have serious consequences to the club – financial or otherwise.

Mark asked that we please ensure that all fans groups are aware of this and ask that any contemplation of using fireworks or flares on ANY type could lead to serious consequences for themselves and the club.

A warning has been issued on the MFC website.

Rob Nicholl suggested that the local FIRE BRIGADE hold a Fire /Pyrotechnics awareness display at the stadium. Mark Ellis was supportive of that suggestion and would look to take it forward.


Yvonne asked for feedback on the Boro app and explained how it worked within the stadium.


Twitter request:

A request had been received asking whether or not “archived DVD of old Boro games” could be featured on the website.  Mark stated that any video archives that were previously available via the Boro+ subscription service will eventually be available on the new website.  ‘We are planning to implement a history section in the site to facilitate access and will progress this over the coming months.  We acknowledge that some supporters find it useful and will endeavour to get this in place early in 2018.’


Block 86 trip hazard


Mark Motley reported that he had noticed supporters tripping up the stairway in Block 86.  Mark Ellis thanked him for the information and confirmed that the area would be checked.  Since the meeting the problem has been identified as being two steps with reduced height risers.  These will be modified to ensure consistency within the stairway.  Further checks are also being carried out on other stairways to establish if there are similar issues elsewhere.  The fact that this problem has existed since the stadium was built and has not been reported before, is a surprise..



Supplementary Heating in Twe12th Man Bar:


John Donovan thanked the Club for the additional heaters installed in the bar which made the facilities so much more amenable for all visitors.     Mark Ellis commented that he was pleased with the result and that MFC hoped to increase the number of units.


RedFaction Charity night:

Details were given of the up-coming Charity event and Football match being arranged.  Would other members please copy and post on their sites and offer as much support as possible please.

Middlesbrough Disabled Supporters Association:

Paddy gave details of their Annual POTY awards dinner at MFC on 22nd January and asked for members support where possible.   The MDSA Fund Raising Challenge for 2018 to 2020 will be to raise £50,000 to REPLACE their members coach.  A huge task but one which will be attempted with the usual gusto and enthusiasm shown at all times by “the wheelies crew” and their supporters.

Sunderland FA Cup Tie tickets:

Mark Ellis informed us that in line with Police and Safety group advice, the game will take place with a 1.00pm kick-off on Saturday 6th January.


North American Fans:

 Caroline has been in contact with the group of North American BORO SUPPORTERS who would like to pick up a “skype link” to listen and hopefully contribute to a meeting with MSF.  Hopefully this will be arranged in the New Year.

Boro Fusion:

Caroline had been approached by a group of Asian Boro fans and had invited them to attend tonight but they have not attended.  She will make further attempts to contact and re-invite them.

Rainbow Reds:


Yvonne informed that this group were re-organising for the New Year so we await – and welcome, further news.


MSF website/Media information:


Dave Roberts informed that a “spare” web domain name had been purchased on formation of the group but as we have decided to run permanently with the “BORO.Support” site name, he proposed that we should not “renew” the other name. This was agreed – DR to refuse the renewal offer.



The next meeting will be held on Monday 8th January, 2018 at 7.00pm. at MFC.

There being no further business, Caroline closed the meeting at 8.25pm and wished all a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Prosperous and “points-filled” 2018.