November Boro Supporters Forum Minutes
By Rob Nichols
Wednesday 13 Nov 2019 15:36:00
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The monthly Middlesbrough Supporters Forum was held this Monday morning up in the Hardwick Suite of the Riverside. It was pretty chilly, coats on affair which was almost begging for the question to be raised again about central heating at the stadium. There was a big contingent around the table with three reps from the club, including a member of senior management to field questions and relay things to the top of the club. As always ticket pricing was up at the top of questions and so having new Head of Commercial and Ticketing, Lee Fryatt was very handy indeed.

Lee kick started the meeting letting everyone know he fully intends to carry on the work of Derek Matthews, sadly no longer at the club. That means a lot of personal phone calls and face to face chats with Boro fans but also continuing the data collection that can provide the raw ammunition for future ticketing policies. It was those policies that took up a fair amount of the meeting starting with the follow up letter from myself to Neil Bausor about reciprocal away ticketing and also the benefit of special offers. We won't publish that letter yet as it was only sent out a week ago, I am hopeful after it has been minuted here that it will be answered. It is meant with the very best of intentions. But this is now something the Forum will be looking to be very proactive on, looking at different ideas for ticket offers and strategies that can be presented to the club.

Anyway, over to the minutes of the meeting and if there is anything you would like to know more about I can try and answer.

Middlesbrough Supporters Forum……Meeting 34

Held at Middlesbrough FC. Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough 6.30pm 11th Nov 2019

In attendance were:

Chris Joseph Chair – Middlesbrough Supporters Forum

Peter Hodgson Secretary – Middlesbrough Supporters Forum

Caroline Walker Diversity - Middlesbrough Supporters Forum

Rob Nichols Fly Me to the Moon Fanzine

Paddy Cronesberry MDSA

Representative Red Faction

Jill Atkinson Middlesbrough Supporters club 2020

Dave Roberts Red Army TV

Yvonne Ferguson Middlesbrough FC

David Joyes Middlesbrough FC

Apologies from John Donovan, Mark Motley, Boro Fusion, Rainbow Reds.

Lee Fryatt – Head of Commercial & Ticketing at MFC attended the meeting as a guest.

Per normal practice, after circulation to all parties by e-mail, the minutes of meeting 33 were accepted as read.

The Chair formally welcomed Jill Atkinson of the new BORO Supporters Club to the Forum

CJ updated members on the updated website -

CJ read out a second letter sent to CEO Neil Bausor after no response was received from a letter sent in July regarding reciprocal ticket arrangements

A discussion was held on the possibility of more innovative ticketing offers with the Forum urging club representatives to look at this. DJ and LF assured members that this is high on the agenda with the club. Data analysis was taking place and they would welcome ideas from the Forum. It was agreed the Forum would put a document of ideas to the club representatives at the next meeting.

RN raised an issue regarding queues etc on the Family Zone concourse – YF will look at individual’s issues.

RN raised the subject of e-ticketing, tickets on phones etc. DJ/LF advised that the turnstile technology was being proactively looked at

PH advised that he and DR had offered to provide a team to play a match as part of the MFC Foundation’s “Football Welcome” initiative.

CJ reminded members that the Foundation was holding a Question of Sport fundraiser on Tuesday 3rd December at the Riverside Stadium. Members are asked to publicise this

PH/PC advised that an issue raised by a disabled member re car parking had been resolved and the supporter had thanked the forum and MFC.

PC suggested that if a disabled supporter with a car park pass was unable to attend a game they should be able to call the club and ask them to reallocate the pass to another disabled person for that game – this was universally accepted as a good idea by the Forum and MFC.

Members were reminded that the next Food Bank collection was prior to the Hull City game – 10am Sunday 24th November. Members were asked to continue to publicise this.

PH asked if YF would look into the possibility that all future “Food Bank” events could be “promoted” during the previous HOME game media opportunities around the stadium. Also, could Mark Page give a 10 second “shout-out” at Half-Time pitch-side draw to a “captive audience” and possible coverage on the Big Screen TV. YF will pursue.

A wheelchair safety issue raised by a fan is being dealt with by YF.

A further discussion was held about safe standing/seating – it was agreed the Forum would write to the new Sports Minister after the election to ensure this was high on the agenda.

Concourse heating – no update

Fan survey – YF advised the results are on the MFC website

Facial recognition – use of this system by police in Cardiff was discussed. Cardiff City fans outraged by this action. “Is it lawful?” CJ advised he had written to Dave Sutherland of Cleveland Police to ask him for a written submission on Cleveland Police’s policy on this and invite him to discuss this at a forthcoming Forum meeting.

*** Addendum to minutes. An answer to our letter to Dave Sutherland was received shortly after this meeting by CJ and we have decided to post the Police response which allays our fears for the present. It is encouraging to read that DS confirms should they ever want to consider this option – then they will speak to us to get our views before making a decision. Quote from D.Sutherland - extracted from his email of 11-11-2019.

“For your reassurance, facial recognition technology is not something we are using in Cleveland and we have no plans to introduce it. I will give you a commitment however, that if we ever do want to consider introducing this, we will come and speak to the MSF first to get your views.” D.S.

RN raised the subject of “ball persons activity” as a current survey shows that Boro are 3rd bottom of the league of time the ball is in play. YF advised this was now part of the match day experience and a discussion was held as to whether “ball persons” should sit behind or in front of the advertising boards.

FSA award – members were advised that the Forum had been shortlisted for a club/fan engagement award by the FSA. A decision will be made as to who attends the ceremony once it is clear how many tickets are available. CW to draft and issue press release.

DR reminded members of their responsibilities to attend meetings and a vote was held to write a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule into the constitution. This was passed.

DR advised members that a Teesside DAB Multi Plex licence has been confirmed. As a result, Red Army Radio could be available on DAB in 2020.

There being no further business, CJ thanked members and closed the meeting at 8.20pm.

Next meeting Monday 9th December at 6.30pm Riverside Stadium.

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