WOODGATE to put pen to paper. Yesterday’s rumours were true. Raul and Beckham were seen in the Tontine with Keith Lamb. A Real Madrid delegation has visited the Riverside this week to tie up the loose ends and a confirmation is imminent.
Details to follow.
Is that half of Southgate’s transfer warchest spent?
Will he be made captain?
Will it nudge Viduka to sign?
Can he stay focussed and maintain his form?
Has he downsized his own ambitions?
Will it influence other players to sign?
And is the news being leaked now to bury the news that season ticket prices are being frozen? Because they are…
Despite the stampede of middle-sized clubs cutting prices in the face of dwindling crowds and competition from al-jazeera, Boro have gambled and stood firm. What impact that will have on gates next season will depend on signings and the mood going into the new campaign.
Steve Gibson said: Ã¢ÂÂAs we look forward to what will be BoroÃ¢ÂÂs tenth successive season in the Premiership, we are looking for the continued support of our fans as season ticket holders.
Ã¢ÂÂI am pleased to announce a price freeze which means that season tickets will remain at 2005 levels for a third successive season.
Ã¢ÂÂIn the current economic climate, I feel that maintaining our existing prices is the best way forward. I believe this will ensure that a 2007-08 season ticket offers good value for money to fans while providing the club with the finances to allow us to continue to compete at the highest level.”
Gibson added: Ã¢ÂÂI trust I can rely on the support of our fans in 2007-08. Every penny of season ticket revenue will go into further team strengthening, as my ambition for this football club burns as brightly as ever.
Adult season ticket prices will continue to start at ÃÂ£390 in the North and South stands. Concessions have also been frozen with under-11s remaining at only ÃÂ£120 throughout the stadium and ÃÂ£245 in all but the West and East upper stands for those aged 12-17.
Significant concessions are also again available for 18-21 year-olds in the north-west and south-west corners and for over-65s throughout the stadium.
Season ticket books are to disappear to be replaced by new gold plastic cards that will give fans automatic access to the Riverside when shown to a scanner at the stadium turnstiles.
That is all a bit disappointing and leaves the impression that the club have badly misjudged the mood of the moment. There is very little incentive for fans who are consider the season ticket as a purely financial transaction to stump up in advance. The experience of most is that they can always get tickets anyway and thet if they miss two or three games a season through work or family reasons then the discount of a season ticket is wiped out. That and the recent trend to cutting prices for specific games has swung the maths against the Red Book.
The club needed to make the Red Book more attractive in other ways. They could have made a token cut, or thrown in cup games free, or tied it to a membership scheme with real benefits and real involvement that would be a step to reinvigorating the relationship with fans. In fact there is no change in that relationship, despite growing signs of estrangement and alienation.
An opportunity missed.
**Full story and details in tonight’s steam driven paper format Evening Gazette.