Boro Still Shooting for the Moon?
By Andrew Glover
Wednesday 26 Nov 2008 13:21:00
Browse all 20 years of Fly Me articles

Twenty years on and it is possible that more people relate the FMTTM brand to a messageboard where people post pictures of their favourite female newsreaders and discuss what they are having for tea rather than the paper version you will have before you on Saturday.  Such is the way of the world I suppose.


I became involved with Fly Me as a teenage seller before writing a first furious article on Massimo Maccarone’s form wondering whether we had bought a spud.  I’m starting to feel the same way about Afonso Alves but if he propels us into a European final in the future I’ll let him off as well.


Fans in this country have still got a voice and can still be influential.  The Manchester United Supporters Trust recently filed a complaint with the Office of Fair Trading after the European champions insisted season ticket holders had to pay for home cup games whether they wanted to attend or not.


Derby County forced the Football League to reduce ticket prices for away fans at Loftus Road after QPR tried to charge up to £40 for a game of Championship football.


I’m no lover of Newcastle United fans but look at the impact they had following Kevin Keegan’s latest exit.  We can laugh at the threats of ‘boycoutts’ by the replica shirted teenagers outside Shearer’s Bar but the wider fans movement was mobilised and played a part in Mike Ashley’s decision to put the club up for sale.


As an increasing number of clubs face foreign takeovers and normal fans are priced out of the game, going to the match is becoming more and more sanitised as too many fans accept the new norm of sitting and waiting to be entertained.  Just like in the hideous talent shows that dominate the TV schedules the audience can’t wait to ridicule the next mistake.  Now more than ever the real fans need to have a voice.


Would Boro fans shrug off our apathetic reputation and stand up and be counted in the face of a perceived injustice, just like the Newcastle fans did?  I would hope that this fanzine and other fans groups would be up for the fight.


The Twe12th Man (I write as an active participant in their activities) admit that they aren’t having the desired impact on the Riverside’s atmosphere.  For while the ground may have more character now it still has all the atmosphere of a morgue for 75% of the time.  For that to change we need more people who are prepared to become involved and further concessions from the club.


An unreserved singing section would instantly improve the atmosphere but sadly I think we might be celebrating FMTTM’s 30th birthday before that becomes a reality.  The club could immediately relax stewarding so that fans weren’t told to sit down only seconds after standing up in an effort to try and bring some passion back to the ground.  MFC has a deserved reputation amongst visiting fans for having the most over-zealous stewards.


As fans we shouldn’t sit back and do nothing about this and other issues.  Write to the club, mobilise the support of other fans online and speak to the Twe12th Man or the newly formed group that congregate in the South East corner.  Fan power can still count.


Happy birthday FMTTM, I’ll be having chicken and chips for my tea and I don’t mind that Kirsty Wark off Newsnight.


Andrew Glover

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