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The Riverside Crowd's Middle-Age Spread

Posted by on March 8, 2007 9:13 AM | 

THE RIVERSIDE crowd is paunchy, greying and getting a little bit grumpy. Sit down in front there son, I can't be standing with my sciatica. We haven't quite got to the stage where the kiosks sell cocoa but the club shop already sells those sensible gifts beloved of the elderly: hip flasks, car blankets, humbugs, cut glass decanters and cross stitch patterns. Can those fur-lined zip-up slippers in club colours be far away?

We have long been aware of this demographic trend in the crowd and have commented on it here in the past but now the excellent David Conn has put some figures on it. In an article in the Guardian on Why Football Is No Longer a Young Man's Game he points to timely new research on the profile of the Premiership crowd that the clubs should bear in mind when they come to draw up their pricing policies over the next few years.

There was a time when football was a rite of passage for working class young men. There was a socially defined route from the wide-eyed zest of the Boys End to the beered up seething passionate sea of the Holgate then on to the comfortable cynicism of the Chicken Run or the semi-retirement of the main stand seats.

The cheap end, the popular end, the kop was almost always packed with the youth, the noisiest, most volatile and most zealous element, the beating heart of the ground. It was packed with gangs of strutting cocksure lads who paid their quid or two and who came to stand together, sing together, enjoy baiting the players with caustic comments and laughing. It was a vibrant social experience at pocket money prices.

holgate.JPG

But the gangs of the lads from the estates were long ago priced out. Ticket prices have risen steadily from £8 on the Holgate in the last year at Ayresome to a cheapest £31 a ticket for the causual adult fan going to watch a category A match. That is a big chunk out of a small wage packet when there are so many other pressing demands to pay for car, trendy clothes, a night out clubbing or a sunshine break.

Few teenagers, students or young people in their first jobs can afford £30 a ticket, or £400 for a season ticket, even with some clubs' credit deals, at 19.9% APR.

According to the Premier League's most recent supporters' survey, last season just 9%, less than one in 10 supporters, was under 24. The average age of a Premier League fan was 43, part of the balding army who fell in love with football in the 1970s.

fouroldies.JPG

It is not just the money that has forced the young lads out. The season ticket sell out at the Riverside in the first few, most exciting years effectively locked out a generation. There were no seats for them to take up. And when seats did become available they were in ones and twos dotted around mainly in the expensive areas. The cheapest North and South Stand diehards were going nowhere and if new fans wanted to squeeze in it would be alongside the flask and blanket brigade where there would be no collective upsurges of noisy passion, no magical induction into the electric terrace culture, no standing and singing. But plenty of mature groups sneaking away early to beat the traffic

The only times when the youth have flooded in in vast numbers and got the chance to gather together have been for cup games when the tyranny of the season ticket is broken and there is a seating free-for all. The cup clashes with Charlton, Steaua, Basel were all fantastic nights of powerful emotion ... and they were all games where the average age of the crowd had been slashed as dramatically as the ticket prices. It was in stark contrast to the normal day at the Riverside where an ageing crowd have grown comfy in their seats.

riversidecrowd.JPG

It is time to galvanise the crowd and time for the clubs to take radical action. Boro took the first steps last season with a new pricing structure that cut prices for the under 9s, the under 16s and under 18s - but they are all tied to kids who go to games with their parents. There is a need to harness the unconditional passion and zest of groups of lads who want to stand together away from restraint of their parents.

It may be time to look at an experiment of areas of unreserved season ticket seating behind each goal to allow groups of likeminded singers to gather. They would still be mainly season ticket holders so security and public order would not be compromised and numbers would not exceed the capacity in the area but those who got in early could get together with their mates. It would increase the likelyhood of concentrated areas of passion.

Another possibility would be to free up areas for new fans to climb aboard the Boro bandwagon at cut-prices. The club could do this easily by moving the away fans to say the South West Upper - the numbers are generally small and could easily be contained - leaving the South Stand area behind that goal available for a real new Holgate, an area dedicated to trainee diehards. It would need to be policed of course. All that testosterone unleashed.

Existing season ticket holders who may be displaced would naturally complain and need to be pacified and persuaded that it was for the benefit of all. And it will be. Atmosphere is central to the matchday product and anything than can nurture it and harness it most be a big plus. The conservative staid straitjacket of a decade of fixed seating as much as the ageing of the crowd has helped throw a shroud of silence over the Riverside most weeks.

With the TV windfall the money is there, with dipping crowds the spare capacity is there and football is starting to examine pricing and the product we must hope the political will is there too. It would be brillinat to see Boro at the forefront of a new movement to expand the fanbase and making the game younger, noisier and accessible to all.

Comments (30)

Never Happy wrote...

I agree with what you have posted, however haven't we covered most of it in previous blogs?

I think Saturday's game against Man U really shows the main problem, namely the cost of a ticket.

It's live on TV, which would normally mean a three quarter full ground at best.

The club has finally woke up to the fact that by introducing a sensible pricing structure for Live TV games, the fans will still turn out in great numbers.

For once the club are 'not having their cake and eating it' they are using the TV cash to subsidise ticket prices.

The same needs to be done for next years season tickets.

Posted by: Never Happy  | March 8, 2007 11:43 AM

Alf wrote...

Great picture of the holgate at the top.. can you imagine the riverside seats being enclosed withe high rencing and spikes!

I would like MFC to put their PR spin machine to one side and just stick ticket prices at £15 in the northstand and £18 in the west and east stand. make all kids tickets £10.

keep it simple. Dont try to patronise people, jsut admit football is expensive and think its time to reward the fans. follow blackburns lead. Make season tickets £285 in north stand,£342 in west and east stand and £190 for kids. and bin the category matches. who would pay £39 to watch boro?

imagine in 10 years tiem the average age of a season ticket holder could be nearer 50! an agying season ticket population can only mean the numebr of seaosn ticket holders will drop with more leaving than being replaced.

think kieth lamb said the club usually expects a 10% fluctuation in season ticket holders coming and going. at present that %10 isnt being replaced enough

Posted by: Alf  | March 8, 2007 11:53 AM

Nigel wrote...

AV, Excellent article.

The lack of teenagers at a game is worrying it doesn't bode well for the future. There is an opportunity with the influx of TV money next season for the club to take the opportunity to plan for the future and look for a way of encouraging teenagers to come to a match with their mates.

That said we are talking about a club which wants to drop its iconic football strip in order to achieve goodness knows what. So with that sort of thinking going on I'm not optimistic about a creative pricing/ticket policy being announced.

I suspect that the clubs senior management are becoming or have become detached from the grass roots support, effectively loosing touch with their customers. That is a dangerous situation for a club to find itself in.

Posted by: Nigel  | March 8, 2007 12:04 PM

gm2 wrote...

AV, another fine article. Good source material too. For anyone not familiar with David Conn, I recommend his book 'The Beautiful Game?'. Well worth a read.


Posted by: gm2  | March 8, 2007 12:41 PM

buffaloboro wrote...

No Band - No kids - No atmosphere.

Excessive seating has killed the game. There is an interesting article in " When Saturday Comes" ( Issue 241 March '07 ) on the whole subject. Worth a read.

Well done for another well crafted piece.

Posted by: buffaloboro  | March 8, 2007 1:45 PM

alf wrote...

Nigel, when you are critical of senior management do you include steve gibson?

There is a lot of criticism aimed at MFC but very little of it is aimed at gibson. But surely he takes some of the blame as he hires and fires people and is involved at the top level with things like ticket prices... etc

Posted by: alf  | March 8, 2007 1:50 PM

Nigel wrote...

Alf, yes I do aim my critisism at Steve Gibson. I regard him as a hero who has done wonders for the club but he is not perfect.

Posted by: Nigel  | March 8, 2007 1:59 PM

J.C. Marske wrote...

I couldn't agree more Anthony, I have been watching the Boro for 40years now and at 70 want to sit in comfort and enjoy the game without having to stand up all the match.

However I agree there is a real need to encourage young fans. I started life watching Hull City aged 8, we used to take ourselves to games and that was part of the experience.

I encouraged my sons to watch by taking them to games. A couple of pints for me, cokes for the lads and on to the Holgate. I occasionally take my grandchildren when dads cannot but it is not the same for them as it was for me.

There is a real need to bring back this experience by turning the South Stand into a standing area for young supporters and older ones who wish to stand at realistic prices.

This of course will need a change in legislation but it could be done if we continue to lobby for standing in restricted areas.

The games I have enjoyed the most this season have been the cup games when I have been surrounded by youngsters cheering and shouting all the match.

The quality of football is not an essential part of the experience it is just being there that matters and this is in block 19 North Stand. Yes they do sit down as well but it does not prevent them giving vocal support.

Posted by: J.C. Marske  | March 8, 2007 3:33 PM

Ian Gill wrote...

Many of us started in the boys end with our dads and brothers satnding below us in the main part of the terrace. There was the unlucky constable stood just the other side of the wall with the vain job of stopping us as the chant of over the wall we go, all coppers are nanas sprang up as we went like lemmings to the front of the standing area.

Then we graduated as Ayresome Angels into the Holgate End having to get to the ground early to get your favourite spot.

But times have changed, all seater grounds and get to your seat as Pigbag starts. We dont send our kids off to matches anymore and the cost has certainly grown faster than incomes.

We cannot turn the clock back so nostalgia has no future. What the club has to do is reinvent itself with the kids the focus. Different generations used to go to the match but often watched in different places.

Cost is an issue but the bigger problem is how to recreate that sense of excitement, the fact that Monday at school was about the match (at least when teachers didnt get in the way). The rest of the week was building up to the away match the following saturday followed by the build up to 3.00pm for the next home game. Midweek home games were the pinacle of the week.

I will never forget the pain of getting through the never ending day before that great night we beat Oxford 4-1 to get out of the third division.

But will it be possible in the sanitised modern world? If it is how can we do it? If we can have the club the will?

Posted by: Ian Gill  | March 8, 2007 4:50 PM

Simon Conway Morris wrote...

Couldn't agree more AV. Younger fans have been priced out of the live matchday experience.

Posted by: Simon Conway Morris  | March 8, 2007 6:01 PM

dave wrote...

A major problem is that the club and players are so detached from the fans. Most dont live local anymore. Years ago they would live in same houses as the fans. Now they are treated and pampered like rock stars and this is alienating the fans who feel they are being milked for all the money they have.

Fans dont like being patronised. Years ago the fans thought the players were one of us but now the players arent. They are just passing through

Posted by: dave  | March 8, 2007 6:02 PM

fat and 40 wrote...

Your right. Me and a dozen mates moved from the Holgate to the Cellnet North Stand. We are still there bar one and we have all put a bit of beef on and gone for the number 1, the millenium combover. All around us it is the same. All the baldie club 30-50 that used to be Ayresome regulars.

I feel sorry for the kids today. I used to go in the Bob End with me pochey money from delivering the Teesside Times but kids these days can't afford it. Good on the Boro cutting tickets for the cup games. That gives the kids a chance for a taste of Boro without breakling the bank.

Posted by: fat and 40  | March 8, 2007 10:58 PM

Snort wrote...

The drive to all seater stadiums & pricing out the youth stemmed from hooliganism & general mayhem in many towns on match day. The Hillsbrough disaster & other tragedies were real and drastic action was taken for good reason.

However it is clear that we have gone from one extreme to the other. Whilst the clubs & officials are benefiting from bigger crowds, less trouble & more money the passion of the youth is slipping away bit by bit which is dangerous for the clubs long term.

I can only watch on TV from Australia these days & it is sad to see the subdued Riverside compared to the old Ayresome Park - I think the 5,000 3rd Div crowds made more noise than 25,000 today.

I agree that younger fans should be encouraged back big time with standing areas behind the goals & cheaper prices - that's a no brainer. Maybe just start with home supporters only to ease in gently.

I think the old hooligan problems will be contained through all the modern technology and intelligence that was not available in the 70's & 80's. Better stadiums, more sophisticated policing, smarter communications, better video surveillance, alcohol checks, electronic ticketing, monitoring of web sites, more expensive travel for away supporters etc etc.

Give the young lads a chance - ultimately it was our generation (& the one before us) that stuffed it up not them.

Posted by: Snort  | March 9, 2007 1:30 AM

Neil (Baku) wrote...

Good article Vic.

This is something a number of us having been whinging on about for a few years now.

There are signs that the club are waking up to the fact that they were losing the clubs future fan base by pricing them out of the market in earlier years, but is the damage already done? Can they reverse the trend?

I believe that live TV coverage, legal or otherwise, is now having a detrimental effect on attendance figures across the country. The very seed of the Premier Leagues conception will soon start to strangle the life out of every club in this country outside of possibly the top six.

In my opinion the balance has been lost between how much football to put on TV, whilst still generating enough cash for the clubs to keep alive and progress.

Advances in SAT tv technology, internet streaming etc, have all contributed to fans finding cheaper alternatives to seeing their team than paying £30+ for the privellige of sitting in a half full stadium.

It will be impossible for the likes of Sky or Government Legislation to police and stop the rot unless they completely re-think their strategy on how they transmit and market games, in particular to overseas audiences.

To me this is the only way they stand a chance of cutting off the 'illegal' channel access enjoyed by thousand of fans on a Saturday and Sunday, including I might add people like me who work away in far away places.

In reality the big clubs don't give a monkeys if there are no fans in the smaller clubs grounds, they'll still be filling their stadiums, selling their merchandise, playing in the Champion's League, and if clubs like ours go to the wall do you really think they care?

That's why there will never be a move nationally to reduce ticket prices across the board, the big clubs would scream the place down, and don't let anyone be fooled, we might have representatives on all the FA and Premier League committees, Sky panels etc, but the big clubs rule the roost make no mistake.

If we want MFC to survive, live long and prosper as a Premier League club, then it's essential that Gibson, Lamb and Co stand up for us. The evidence is there this season, if the price is right the fans will turn up in droves, we might yet see the East stand tier being added who knows.

But now is the time to set the policies, not at the end of the season, or in the closed season when we're all thinking about sea, sand and sangria, the club need to strike while the iron's hot, publish new season ticket prices now, tell us what the concessions will be to get the fans back into the stadium, get the fans back onside.

You're winning the battle Boro so don't pull out now.

Posted by: Neil (Baku)  | March 9, 2007 8:02 AM

Nigel wrote...

I'm going to play devils advocat a little now. Since my first posting I have thought about the article overnight and now I'm not so sure the issue is clear cut.

Most people posting on this blog are I suspect in the category described by AV so we immediatley have a natural bias.

While I still agree that it is important to attract young teenagers and I think we really mean male teenagers to the game there is a much wider audience to attract.

The demographics have changed since Hillsborough etc and for the better I believe. For example now we have far more women young and old which in my opinion is a good thing.

The club needs to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to the match. The fact is as mentioned by Snort the changes we have seen in Stadiums and the type of people attending were a result of major problems in terms of hooligans and dilapidated stadiums which brought English football to its knees.

We don't want to go back there which probably means that the days when teenage boys attend matches as groups of friends standing on terraces is gone and will not return.

I can't see standing terraces ever been allowed back. That is the price we have paid for modern new stadiums and being able to see world superstars playing at the Riverside.

I also don't believe having thought about it that the young fan base is diminishing, the problem is getting them into the ground rather than them watching on SKY.

I also don't think that the fact that footballers are no longer part of the local community is a major issue. My son is seven lives with me 250 miles from Teesside and is an avid Boro fan.

He watches SKY, reads the Boro web site and reads the Sports Gazette that his Grandad sends him every week. He goes to the Riverside with me (and his Mum) whenever we visit and he absolutley loves it, the Boro players are his heroes just the way Willie Maddren, Graham Souness etc were mine.

My point is the fan base is there and not diminishing, in fact it has probably increased over the past 15 years or so. The trick is for the club to make tickets affordable to all the fans whatever their age. What we want is a club accesible to the whole community and crowds of 35000 every week. It can be done.

Posted by: Nigel  | March 9, 2007 9:45 AM

dave wrote...

We may have one of the best chairman in the league but when it comes to tricky points like ticket prices, Gibson tends to keep out of any discussions and leaves it to Keith Lamb to deal with it.

Gibson may own the club but it is his duty to the community to make it as affordable to the local people as much as possible

Posted by: dave  | March 9, 2007 9:59 AM

Mr B wrote...

Part of the problem may be unsolvable. The current demographic of the country is very different from the 1970s - the population is now very biased towards the middle aged as baby boomers become 50 somethings.

Yes, there seem to be just as many teenagers as when we were young but actually there aren't, so the pool of young fans available must be much smaller.

Posted by: Mr B  | March 9, 2007 10:00 AM

Nigel wrote...

Dave I think you are spot on.

Presumably as Chief Exec. Keith Lamb makes the decisions on price increases etc. However it is Steve Gibson's role to set the policy framework within which Keith Lamb operates.

My advice to Steve Gibson would be make the white band a permanent part of the club strip and have a policy of making match attendance affordable to all. We know that is now a financially viable option.

I know I keep banging on about the strip but I do believe having a unique sense of identity is vital to a football club. It makes the team instantly recognisable throughout the world.

Posted by: Nigel  | March 9, 2007 10:55 AM

dave wrote...

Nigel, I think we need to make Steve Gibson aware how much the fans feel that keepign the white band is important to our identity...thats if he doesnt already know.

In modern football there are few things left that people can relate to as being tradition to their clubs..well apart from pig pag ;o)

I know people like keith lamb,fordy and co get a lot of stick but i would expect gibson to be involved in thing at the top level like kit design and ticket pricing policy.

Posted by: dave  | March 9, 2007 11:12 AM

Steve . Bishop Auckland wrote...

I remember a couple of years ago getting a survey sent from the club, after renewing my season ticket, asking why I had started going to games again.

There were all sorts of answers to choose from but one blatantly obvious one missing (as far as I was concerned).......it was now safe to do so.

So while i agree about the missing younger generation...at the same time, it is nice to see 'families' going to matches now, and I never thought I would see the day when Boro & newcastle etc etc supporters, mingled together to greet the teams coming to the ground without there being a mass punch up and brick throwing session.

I remember in the good old/ bad old days when i used to go and watch Stuart Boam's Boro....getting the train from Darlo, I would have to get on the same train as whatever away fans were turning up...get a pasting off them....get to Boro where there would be a big bunch of fans waiting to jump them as they come out of the station (with me in tow...ergo ANOTHER pasting ...from our lot)...then have to get the train BACK with the away fans (and you can imagine what fun THAT was if they'd been beaten!).

So...while I can look back and laugh at it now, that sort of scenario would not be enjoyable in this day and age and would only force all those family members to leave the game again.

So who do you want to keep happy?

**AV writes: There is no suggestion that the clubs should rip out the CCTV cameras or do away with modern policing and stewarding. The culture has changed completely now and there is no reason to believe that a turn to youth should lead to resurgent violence in the grounds.



Posted by: Steve . Bishop Auckland  | March 9, 2007 12:39 PM

Ken wrote...

Good article.

Know what would be even better? Building that extra tier on the East stand, setting prices low enough to fill it, and making the Riverside noisier than liverpool's kop was in the good old days.

After all, Boro's record attendence at Ayresome Park was about 53000 and there must be far more people now who'd like to be able to afford to go and see the new entertainment Gareth is serving up. That's my dream anyway. That and winning the FA cup in my lifetime.

By the way, I remember Clough and Peacock (only just) so I guess I'm a grey or maybe a silver, too!

Still, the passion remains.

Posted by: Ken  | March 9, 2007 1:08 PM

Neil (Baku) wrote...

Nigel,

The SKY/internet supporters, like your son and family, me and many others working abroad, living abroad or otherwise are part of the new culture of fans that have grown up over the last few years. Some of us are season ticket holders too even though we can't get to games.

We're all fans, and part of what I was getting at, is that the fan base IS there, but's up to the club to tap into it now.

Currently we are seeing a little more entertainment on the pitch, and coupled with the clubs new (I hope not temporary??) ticket policy for cup games, there is an opportunity to sell the club again to the missing fans.

It proves it when you see a full house for tomorrow, even though its live on TV, that the fans will come if the price is right.

You're absolutely right, it CAN be done, but only if MFC have the WILL to do it.

Good post mate.

Posted by: Neil (Baku)  | March 9, 2007 1:26 PM

briggsy wrote...

"After all, Boro's record attendence at Ayresome Park was about 53000 and there must be far more people now who'd like to be able to afford to go and see the new entertainment Gareth is serving up. "

Back in them days there were less alternative forms of entertainment, so football had no competition.

Now football is competing with tv, internet, dvds, pubs, holidays, computer games,sky..etc not just football related things. back in them days going to football was the only form of entertainment for the working class

Posted by: briggsy  | March 9, 2007 1:40 PM

Ian Gill wrote...

Steve from Bishop Auckland

I used to get the train up from Leeds to see matches and recall the 'fun' it was on the trains.

As AV states things are different now, the clubs are competing with other outlets for the young kids and grounds are much safer. If we can get more kids coming back it will enhance the future.

Dad and a kid for the price of a current adult ticket would make a difference. It could well bring more fathers and grandfathers back to the ground.

A section for youngsters only, no alcohol, well stewarded with a focus on their interests - dads could disappear to their section leaving the youngsters amongst friends or same age group fans. School 'season tickets' so that friends could go together. Family 'season tickets' away from those who want to cuss and swear and chant.

The ideas are legion, the key thing is the fans believing that the club mean business and care. If they take some action early it will be a great move, the last thing we want is the club to be dragged along behind other similar sized clubs.

Posted by: Ian Gill  | March 9, 2007 1:51 PM

Nigel wrote...

I just have a feeling that there is an opportunity arising for the Boro to take advantage of.

Plenty of cash available, a new manager and a new positive ethos, clearly a very happy squad, fans who are responding positively to realistically priced tickets, the possibility of a world class Boro born player being signed permanently, and a strip which belongs to Boro and nobody else.

I also agree that if the club was brave they could build the extra tier and get 40000 crowds.

Steve Gibson seize the moment!

PS Cheers Neil

Posted by: Nigel  | March 9, 2007 1:59 PM

matt wrote...

I agree with what you say Anthony, as someone who falls into the 'young person's' bracket (I'm now 26 and have been watching Boro since I was 8)

I feel that over the last few seasons it has become increasingly difficult to watch the team I so ardently support, simply because of the high ticket prices.

Sometimes it does feel like the club has neglected the 'young male' supporters and has concentrated their efforts on snaring the more affluent middle-class and middle-aged supporters to fill the seats at the Riverside.

This is somewhat disconserting as I for one now feel that I (and many others like me) are being squeezed out of the club by high prices.

To be blunt, it is just not fair. Middlesbrough is a small town populated largely by working class people - we are not Chelsea or Manchester United and our prices should reflect that.

It has been well documented over the last few months that next year every Premiership club will receive a substantial increase in money from the international sales of television rights. I only hope that our club (and the other clubs in the Premier League) will use their respective windfalls with the supporters in mind and lower the cost of season tickets and general sale tickets.

After all, it is the fans (of all generations and backgrounds) that make every club what it is, hopefully we won't be forgotten when things are going well, because the situation is reciprocal - if fans can't live without their football club, a football club certainly can't survive without it's fan base.

Posted by: matt  | March 9, 2007 2:11 PM

Mark wrote...

Spot On

Posted by: Mark  | March 9, 2007 6:02 PM

Calum wrote...

Couldnt agree with all this any more but i think this needs to be sent to MFC because i think it could be very persuasive and tempting, great article!

Posted by: Calum  | March 9, 2007 8:13 PM

tim wrote...

I don't go to the games anymore. I used to go to Ayresome every week with all the lads and the atmosphere was always brilliant.

I and many others stopped going properly midway through the Bryan Robson era because I thought the atmosphere had died and a different clientele had took over.

No disrespect to women and families but it took the 'edge' away from the atmosphere. Away fans and teams used to hate coming to Ayresome Park because it was intimidating.

I live in Newcastle now and they really don't take Middlesbrough seriously, they think Middlesbrough supporters are 'plastic' they think we don't have any diehards and that you can only go to the match if you are with your mam.

I've been back to the boro a few times and shouted my head off (no swearing)... only to look around and see everyone else sat around with vacant expressions on their faces, you think why do i bother?

I would make the journey back to the riverside..not for better football...(Boro supporters don't support their team for that)...I would go when all the lads came back and the proper atmosphere returned

P.S. You can't take a premiership club seriously if you have cheap Errea football shirts. Boro should go for Adidas, Nike or Umbro. They would sell far more shirts and be taken more seriously not like some second division club.

Posted by: tim  | March 9, 2007 9:11 PM

Anthony wrote...

I only get to maybes a couple of home matches a season and a few away matches. I live in Rushden in the E Midlands, and as you will appreciate there aren't any clubs in my local area in the Premiership at the minute.

I hope Derby and either/or West Brom/Birmingham get promoted so I stand a chance of getting into an away match again - because its impossible to buy tickets on the day for Spurs etc.

When crowds were low at Ayresome park pre-1986 it was dissapointing and as a kid looking back I was annoyed with my dad for staying away. To me it typified the fickleness of the Boro fan.

Obviously life in the Premiership is different. When Boro moved to the Riverside I somehow managed to see the first three home games before going off to University. After then I was limited to going to cup games as I couldn't get in... I was one of the 7,000 people who turned up for the 7-1 against Hereford in the league cup.

I always expected it to be the same without holding a season ticket. My dad has had one on and off for several years. I would give my right arm if I was visiting home for the weekend to go to any Boro match and its disappointing that its possible to get in nowadays on matchday. Obviously tomorrow will be different, but i'll be there in heart and spirit.

To put Boro's ticket prices into context, last season it cost me £17 to get a seat to watch Rushden and Diamonds. And they were the cheap seats. So if you look at it from that perspective I'd much rather pay £31 to watch Boro.

If they can get the pricing right I want to see a full house every week. It annoys me I can't be there as its a long slog in the car and sub 30,000 crowds at the Riverside make me feel sick. Mostly with guilt because I want it to be 30,001.

Posted by: Anthony  | March 10, 2007 3:30 AM

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