Minutes of Middlesbrough Supporters Forum……Meeting 13.
Held at Middlesbrough F.C., Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough @ 7pm. 12th February. 2018.
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. MDSA.
Rob Nichols Fly Me to The Moon Fanzine
John Donovan Twe12thMan Group.
Representative Red Faction Fans Group
Mark Motley Middlesbrough Supporters South
Mark Ellis Middlesbrough FC.
Yvonne Ferguson Middlesbrough FC.
Apologies were received from :- Steve Rock – MOSC ( Their meeting clashed. )
We were also joined by Daniel, a German student undertaking work experience with Mark Ellis.
Per normal practice, after circulation to all parties by e-mail, the minutes of mtg 12 were accepted as read.
Matters arising from minutes of meeting 12.
Foodbank Event: (CW/YF)
The meeting opened with Dave Roberts showing a 3-minute video report on the undoubted success of the Food Bank Collection before the Reading game. In less than 3 hours before the game we collected almost a ton of canned and packaged food for donation to the Middlesbrough Foodbank. We also collected over £550 from other generous supporters. MOSC donated over £200 worth of all sorts of food. We later received a donation of £200 from the Middlesbrough Supporters South. Their representative, Mark Motley was with us at the Reading match helping to pack food in the vans and to chat to many fans who wanted to know what it was all about.
Our media profile links after this initiative were terrific. We had great coverage from all sections of the media. We received great feedback and very positive comments from all quarters on the day. It
CW will liaise with Soroush the Food bank manager to find out when they are short of donations to arrange our next collection around this.
Website Sponsorship / Business Cards : ( CJJ)
Chris’ contact with the potential sponsor had still not taken place as he is still in the Far East. It was hoped that his return would be sooner rather than later. Members were asked to suggest some potential smaller sponsors who may be worth approaching for support in our work. The link with the business card promotion / advertising / info was to be hurried along.
There was also a similar problem with slow uploading from our web-site support guy, Tom Currie. Tom had been moving house but the issue is now being sorted with CJJ and RN. Rob N suggested that he obtain the necessary technical info from Tom, to enable him to make simple amendments and additions on the website quickly.
From website – goal music:- (All )
All sorts of differing results had been received from the various polls on the member groups’ web-sites. When looked at overall for and against votes almost cancelled each other out.
A vote was taken by the Forum to continue to not have goal music and the club would hold a comprehensive poll at the end of the season when the new MFC Digital roll out was complete.
The vote was carried with 7 in favour and 2 abstentions.
Support for MFC stance on pyrotechnics. ( C.J. )
After last month’s discussion on this subject, Chris Joseph proposed that we take a vote on the motion “ MSF supports the stance of MFC in relation to not allowing the use of Pyrotechnic devices at the Riverside Stadium.”
The vote was taken with 8 (eight) votes supporting the motion and 1(one) vote abstention – (Red Faction).
As an addendum to this situation, PH asked if Mark Ellis would share with us, the penalties that could be placed on MFC if pyrotechnic offences take place at our home ground.
Mark explained that the EFL operates a “Chairman’s Charter” with every club to support the prohibition of use of these and similar devices at English Football clubs. EVERY INCIDENT will be recorded in the Match Officials report to the EFL. A copy also goes to the 2 clubs involved. If individual clubs have repeated offences, they are liable to some form of punishment by the FA including fines.
CJ emphasised that a record for pyrotechnics incidents at the Riverside could also impact negatively on the campaign for “Safe-standing” areas in future
Update on “safe standing” issues : ( CW/RN )
Rob had received a letter from Jon Darch who had seen our website notes from the last meeting re the safe standing issue. He is very keen to meet with MSF and MFC for us to check out the latest position re- safe standing. He is happy to travel up to the Riverside to meet with us. General consensus was that we should ask Rob to arrange this with him and consider a later option to bring his “Safe Standing Roadshow” display up to the Riverside for the footie public to see exactly what this very important subject is all about.
Update this meeting will take place on Monday 5th March 7pm at the Riverside Stadium.
Fan Zone event – Notts Forest game – 7th April – Mela at the Match
Yvonne informed the forum that MFC were working closely with Boro Fusion and Freeborough Academy to put this event on. The objective was to encourage people from the BAME community to attend games at the Riverside and to bring the community closer together. All groups were asked to give as much publicity as possible to this and to support.
MFC Digital Account Sign on. ME
M.E. stated that the “Single Sign On Facility” is now operational on MFC’s website. This will make the whole operation of logging onto Boro’s website simple as the one log-in will give access to every facility on offer to fans.
DR and MM pointed out that it was essential that such a method was very user-friendly and to simplify the terminology so that all potential users understood the system from the start.
ME asked that the forum members encourage their own members to sign up in advance of ticket sales/season ticket sales etc.
Trip Hazard / Stairs. (RN)
Further to recent issues on this subject. RN reported that following a similar complaint from a South West stand fan, that complaint and several other similar issues had been resolved. ME stated that on a general check of the stands, some other similar issues had been identified and remedial works / alterations had been carried out. He also pointed out that these issues had probably been there since the opening of the Stadium almost a quarter of a century ago.
Food Kiosks. ( MM )
Mark Motley reported that it was becoming more noticeable that people were queuing at peak times for up to 10 or 15 minutes at the food kiosks for burgers or chips and when fans are getting to the front of the queue, they’re told things are sold out. Would it be possible to display a notice saying “BURGERS SOLD OUT – or even a supervisor to call out to the fans queuing about the situation?
Mark Ellis thanked MM for raising this. The new catering process which started this season means that fewer cooking facilities are used but each unit then serves the hot food to several sales points. It is possible that the supervisors are not identifying the availability of enough stock to support the amount of sales. This is a safer and better system overall but obviously needs better stock availability/distribution management. He will look into this and report back.
Merchandise outlet trials: ( MM )
With the current “SALE” offers in the clubs shops, MM stated that before the match some of the queues to buy were up to half an hour long. Could it be possible to organise some type of “pop-up” shops at other places elsewhere at the ground. e.g. Outside kiosks selling just Replica Shirts or even along the concourses. ME will discuss with the retail people.
Heating for Concourses. (C.J.)
Chris asked that, with the introduction of free-standing, extra heating being brought into the 12th man bar being so successful, what would be the thoughts of ME in doing a similar thing with all of the concourses during the winter months.
This is not just related to increasing sales of food and drink on the concourses, it is directly linked to the success of the heaters in the north stand concourse Twe12th Man bar area and the well-being of all fans in the modern day match experience
Mark explained that it would be great but there are technical limitations at the Stadium and safety regulations that make it “not as simple” as he would like. He is all in favour of the ideas all around the stadium but it is NOT a simple fix.
On-line ticket purchase problem: (R.N.)
Rob reported a fan saying that he could not access the MFC ticket line during the day. ME suggested that it may have been “customers own pc access” problem as their system is working OK and no other problems of this nature reported.
There being no further business, Caroline closed the meeting at 8:40pm.
Next meeting scheduled at MFC offices on Monday 12th March. at 7.00pm.