Loyalists, Have A Drink On Boro

THERE would be a real feelgood buzz if we were talking about a Riverside reshuffle and season ticket prices from the comfort of the play-off zone.
But we shouldn’t let recent results jaundice the bigger picture: Boro have listened on prices, on the crying need for affordable family packages and the lack of atmosphere.
And not just listened but also taken real concrete steps to address some of the most pressing problems with the most radical reconfiguration and pricing package since the Riverside was opened.
The new season ticket price details were released in the Evening Gazette today along with confirmation of some tweaking of the ground designed to galvanise a flagging matchday atmosphere. And Gibbo is getting the beers in!

The South Stand – currently given over to the sparse scattering of visiting fans tucked up cosily in one block – will be opened to Boro fans giving vocal and visible support in a prime spot for passion.
And a new East Stand ‘Generation Red’ family area will be created with a ridiculously affordable price structure that will enable adults to take two younger kids to the match than less than a quid all in. That’s just fan-tastic.
It is no secret that a string of articles offering constructive criticism and a menu of suggestions to help halt the long slide in gates on this blog and in the paper – and the informed and passionate debate that followed – led to the Gazette being invited to a series of summits with club chiefs.
That led to productive meetings with a variety of fans’ groups and Boro big-wigs Steve Gibson and Neil Bausor proved open to some quite creative ideas on pricing.
The first fruits of those meeting were a flurry of cut-price ticket deals to head off a collapse in gates. Those one off targeted deals led to some of the biggest crowds and biggest atmospheres of the season before fading in the face of some harsh winter results.
But the renewal forms that will flop on the doormats of season ticket stalwarts and recently lapsed loyalists from today include confirmation of two major initiatives that are a direct response to fans’ initiatives – plus a big liquid bonus as Steve Gibson gets the beers in.
The most visible sign of the changes will be the repopulation of the South Stand.
For years the designated away end has been deserted with the vast swathes of empty red seats damning Boro with every appearance on TV.
The sorry sight of a Boro goal flying in at that end with no backdrop of celebration must be a big turn-off for would-be fans watching at home and wondering why the hell they would want to go there. Feel that big game atmosphere!
The rejig, a suggestion from the Gazette eagerly agreed by the Red Faction group from noisy South East corner, will ensure fans behind that goal not only are part of Boro’s subliminal advertising to but they can also have a direct impact on the dynamics of the crowd on a matchday.
The plan is to move the Red Faction en masse from the current lofty location to immediately behind the goal and the price will be pitched to attract like minded loyalists from up in the more expensive corners to form a decent block of Boro to cheer the team on when kicking that way.
After detailed talks with the police and council safety officials, the away fans will be moved up to the East Stand where the internal architecture allows easy segregation with an overflow area in a strip of the South Stand to cope with big games and FA Cup matches where the visitors may need a bigger allocation. No season tickets will be sold in that overspill area.
The Red Faction have bought into the idea and know that while they are being encouraged to be noisy and passionate they will need to be on their best behaviour. After seeing exactly how much high profile ‘category A’ police and stewarding costs – “which player do you want me to sell? they were asked by Steve Gibson – have agreed to “police” themselves. They are aware that if the area becomes costly or problematic then the experiment could quickly end.
Boro now have two kops and, when the Riverside is rocking, the passion and noise will be in stereo with Twe12th Man in the established North Stand. And for big games a healthy away crowd will not occupy a psychological prime spot behind that goal .
But more importantly for the future, the new Family Area offers a fantastic incentive to blood the next generation.
It’ll be cheaper to take the kids to a game than the pictures for first time in decades.
Adults who take kids there will be offered the lowest prices in the ground – £16..86 per game – and will get their first Under-11 junior red free. They can take another Under-11 along for £20 a season, which clocks in at 86p per match and Under-18s are just £50 a season or £2.17 a game.
I could take my pair for a total of £18.93… it would cost £20.60 to take them to the cinema. And a lot more for 3D what with the extra for those daft glasses. And the coke and popcorn is far more pricey there as well. But the “flix index” was always used as a comparison by people pointing out that football was no longer affordable for families.
Seniors taking kids can get their ticket for £230 so Nana or Grandad taking two Under 11s would work out at a very reasonable £10.36 per game…. that’s cheaper than paying for a real babysitter!
The area will be redecorated with kids in mind and the concourses will be geared to the new audience – that may include matchday entertainment; some clubs bring in occasional exhibitions from the likes of Match Attax and have pre-match FIFA and ProEvo consoles and competitions, we’ll see – and the block will have light touch sympathetic stewarding but a strict Mind Your Language policy (although how they will block out colourful chanting aimed at the referee from other areas of the ground I don’t know.)
It is an unbelievable deal for families and can help educate – brainwash – future fans and steel them for the agony and ecstacy that awaits them in the gruelling years to come. Feel free to contact social services…
It can help re-establish the time honoured ‘dad and lad’ (feel free to coin your own non-gender specific phrase if you can get it to rhyme) working class rite of passage that died in the sell out years as the Riverside developed middle-age spread.
For the best part of a decade youngsters who wanted to go simply couldn’t. There were no seats available even they could persuade a parent or uncle or neighbour to take them. An entire generation was lost.
This is a vital move to replenish the ranks. The very affordable prices will encourage parents to take kids – who will then hopefully be infected and demand to renew next year. Pester power in action. And they will of course buy burgers and exit through the shop.
“But what about me?” The cry goes up from stalwart season ticket fans feeling overlooked.
Well, prices have been frozen for early renewals for an eighth season running. North Stand tickets work out at £16.86, which is not bad. To add a bit of context, there are eight League One and six League Two sides charging more than £20 for on the day tickets this season.
And, as discussed endlesly on here, club can’t realistically cut prices as it is their main source of income in this league, especially as Financial Fair Play kicks in next term which will restrict the cash Steve Gibson can pump into the club.
Boro’s only chance of increasing revenue is raising their take at the gate. That means getting more people in, not widespread price cuts. I think most people accept that.
But Boro know that season ticket holders want to feel loved, want a recognition of their love, want a gesture. So they are buying you a pint. Every game.
beer fans.jpg
The free pint is a response to another fans’ suggestion. It was pointed out that all the previous offers had been geared to ‘part-timers’ and while everyone understood why, it just felt like they were being overlooked. That is worth £3.60. Every game, activated by the smart chip in your season-card. But the time frame for getting the beers in is restricted. So get in early or stay after the game and celebrate. Or drown your sorrows.
And yes, if you don’t drink because you are driving you can have a coffee or a coke or a bovril. No, there is no cash alternative. And no, you can’t save them up and go on a bender every couple of months. (Insert your own joke about needing to get bladdered to watch the football here).
It isn’t a panacea for Boro problem’s. The real issues will only be addressed by a sharp upturn in results and performances and a sustained improvement in the local economy. And no doubt someone will say “what about the concessions in other areas,” or point to walk-up match day pricing which are both issues that still need addressing.
But it is a start, and a solid and progressive one at that. Boro chiefs have taken stock of the situation, listened to the supporters and responded with a decent package that offers two potentially important changes, a price freeze – and a beer.
Things may feel bleak with the team on the slide right now. But there’s always next year. And who knows, a sudden spark and play-off surge in the last nine games … the new prices could just still be a hell of a bargain in the Premier League!


36 thoughts on “Loyalists, Have A Drink On Boro

  1. I am in East Stand but have no kids. Will i get a discount for my 10+ years as a season ticket. Unlike a new fan with a kid?
    **AV writes: No but you will get a price freeze, be offered a free pint every game, a massive saving on matchday prices. And the pleasure of seeing our heroes in action.

  2. A great deal for families and should be good to have home fans behind that goal. Price freeze too. Can’t see me having a pint every week as I drive but as you say, it is a gesture. I would have renewed anyway.
    Now let’s see the army of moaners queue up to say it is an insult because the club haven’t slashed the prices to a tenner and Gibbo hasn’t offered to come round in his roller to personally drive them to the match.

  3. To be honest AV the prices of the tickets have always been fair in my opinion. Freezing them is a good idea.
    I can only praise the work of yourself and the people behind the scenes who have done so much to keep the momentum of the club moving forward through such turbulent times. The Sheff Wed game; although seems like a distant memory now was a great place to be, brilliant atmosphere, excitement, and a Boro win.
    Hopefully with a full ground next season we can kick on and finally get back to where we belong.

  4. Does Steve Gibson actually listen to the fans or read the forums??
    Season ticket sales dropped off last season because people couldn’t afford to go,what is going to be any different next season especially with the team sinking faster than the titanic?
    A lot of other teams have already announced price reductions for next season, Gibson should have reduced the adult tickets by £50 across the board and made a genuine positive attempt to show the club care and think about the fans!
    You can move the areas fans sit,dress it all up for a PR stunt but the bottom line is a free pint is not going to entice anyone back and once again the loyal season ticket holders of the last 18 or so Riverside seasons are overlooked!!
    **AV writes: The club can’t afford to slash prices. They are already losing £800k + a month, hence building a team from the bargain bucket. Ticket income is the biggest and most important part of the club’s revenue and Boro are already right down there with cheapest ST prices in the Championship. Most of the teams on similar prices have wage bills a lot less than half of Boro.
    With Financial Fairplay looming Steve Gibson is limited to £8m of investment next season – which is £4m less than he has put in this season. That shortfall has to come from somewhere. It certainly can’t be added to by major price cuts. Increasing income at the gate is the only way. That or player sales. We would all love cheaper prices but it is simply not realistic. Not if you want a club at this level anyway.
    The only team that has seriously reduced prices is Blackpool who have two more years of parachute payments to play with and a much lower cost base.

  5. Is it right early bird is open to all unlike previous seasons?
    Think it is generally a move in the right direction. Think saying ‘worth £3.60’ is pushing it. Must serve some nice stuff up in the press box. If there was an honesty box I’d pay not to drink the stuff.
    Anyway, the family enclosure should have been done properly years ago, it’s the bread and butter. Too many kids are following the big clubs now, make them better humans by getting them used to defeat from a young age can only benefit them in the long run.
    One thing missing which I would like to see the club trial is a bundle offer. Five games for £100 quid, 10 for £200 etc to attract many of the blokes working offshore back on a more regular basis. ST aren’t worth having because you struggle to give them away for free now when you miss that many games.
    We’ll talk about tis over more detail on the train to the play off final 😉
    **AV writes: I agree that more tweaks and creativity is still needed on matchday pricing but this is a solid first step.

  6. Clearly in an effort to add value to the match day experience and increase sales a focus group has been asked “what is it that Boro fans really enjoy?” Their conclusion was “beer”. The correct answer was of course “moaning”.
    On seeing the story, a colleague and I started riffing on, we thought, unrealistic and ungrateful typical responses “Aye, but I bet they’ll insist you have to stay for the match to get your free pint”, “Free pint, what of that stuff?”, “What if I miss a game, what happens to my pint?”, “I watch them on Al Jazeera down the club – what about me?” only to find we’d been beaten to it in the comments on the story.
    Still, in a sense it could be said that by giving the hard core whingers something else to whinge about, the focus group have succeeded in their brief, albeit by a circuitous route.
    Nice to see the Len Shackleton quote I offered a while ago being tested for real.
    All in all, an excellent and creative initiative by the club which I hope gets the reception it deserves.

  7. Initial reaction to this… disbelief.
    Right, well done the club for trying to get younger fans in the stadium, and I also think the reconfiguration of the stadium is a good idea. But the idea of a ‘free drink’ is appalling. Let me explain.
    So OK, I’ve been a fan for 15-16 years. My first memory of Middlesbrough was the FA Cup Final vs. Chelsea. So we lost and we got relegated, didn’t bother me. Boro was my club. Over the next couple of years, promotion, win a trophy, Europe, great! Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t afford a season ticket; it was just seen as a luxury when I was younger.
    Still though, on the odd occasion I managed to go, I remember how excited I used to get about going to the match, ‘wow, live football!’ I finally got see Juninho play! And I was pretty lucky, I saw some great matches! 5-3 vs. Birmingham, we beat Tottenham a couple of times, and to be honest, I think I saw 1/2 defeats out of 10?
    So ok, I finally get an income which enables me to get a ST. Brilliant. So my first season as ticket holder? Started off great, 33,000 and a 2-1 win over Tottenham (ironically). Hint for anyone? We got relegated at the end of the season. Some abject performances think we drew 0-0/1-1 so many times. Matches with 6 centre-backs on the pitch. Ok, so I was only paying £180? For my ticket, being 18-21, so what, we’re in the Championship, I’ll renew.
    So many memories of getting beat 1-0 at home that season. Southgate dismissed after being third or something in the league, (should’ve went long before that) Strachan comes in. If anyone wants to see what a grenade can do for a bunch of people, just look at his regime. Disaster. We miss out on play-offs.
    Next season will be better they said. Money spent on the finest talent the SPL had to offer. Renewed. Wrong. Team was a joke, some of the worst football I’ve seen.
    Then Mowbray came in. Right I wasn’t even born when the club was liquidated or whatever, but I know about the history of the club. It inspired me. So this was Strachan’s team, but Mowbray finished the season in style even though we again missed out on play-offs. This gave me hope. I could buy into Mowbray’s ideals, a man from Teesside for the Teesside people. He was one of us. So again I renewed.
    Last season… cut backs, understandable. But again our home form was abysmal. Uninspiring. Spent much of the season at Riverside wishing I was somewhere else. The away form was brilliant; I even went to some of the games. Didn’t really mind home form as long as the team were doing well in the league. But then turn of the year, we dropped off, and we’re lucky to even have shout for the play-offs at the last game of the season.
    Right, so here comes the crunch part. So I don’t’ fall into the 18-21 category anymore, ST doubles! £380? Ok, now I know buying a ticket requires support, it requires a lot of BLIND FAITH. But I get one anyways. I love the Boro I do. I dream of getting back to the Premier League, if my money helps then great, because after all, that’s the only thing that will help the club right? I mean, I could support the team in front of the TV, but that’s not going to help the club is it?
    This season has been mixed. Home form has improved, but has it been worth the money? I don’t know. The disaster of 2013 has left a negative atmosphere surrounding the club; I’ve been poisoned by it. I supported the club no matter what, but the nay-Sayers are starting to ruin it for me. I’m lucky because I haven’t had to watch dross from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s (though there were some good times no doubt). This is just a blip.
    But now I’m at the crossroads. The ST renewal form will drop on my door step. I’ve seen four years of MFC which has been the worst in recent history. I could never touch the Riverside revolution, just watch it pass by. I really would like to renew. I mean it; Boro is a part of me. But when I doubt things, I need the club to show me something, something to believe in, and something to get rid of the negativity.
    I know I have no right to be rewarded for watching four years of essentially poor performances, but just something to sway me in renewing.
    So what did the club offer me? A price freeze? I don’t mind, I’m lucky I don’t have to worry about affording one or not. But a free drink at every match?! Well that’s swayed me! Forget about the small reduction in ticket price, a free shirt, or something similar, I can now watch what has been and will most likely be continue (hopefully not) to be Boro’s worst period of the modern era with a pint in my hand, standing in a freezing cold concourse! Happy days! That’s me sold.
    The club has completely missed the point. I honestly can’t believe the club thinks A) handing out a free drink will appease current fans B) a free drink will result in an upturn of ticket sales! I don’t want to knock the club; I hate to see it, but it pathetic. I’d take my own bottle of water, but I’d have to sneak it anyways, because being a football means I might to something crazy and attempt to lob it at the players.
    After four years of blind faith, and watching poor football, I needed something to renew this faith. A free drink was not it. Almost feels like an insult.
    Daft thing is I’ll probably still renew.
    **AV writes: As I mentioned the issue of concessions and a very steep price rise is one of the issues we want to discuss with the club in the future because we know it must really hurt when the hike kicks in but we can’t demand everything immediately. Everything we suggest and propose has to be fully costed and the initial changes and offers are tweaks that mean the club don’t lose money.

  8. AV –
    I understand what you are saying, I’ll renew anyway I have had my season ticket since the day the Riverside opened but there are so many people saying they are not going to renew next season because of prices, quality of football etc .
    When the recent offers were on apart from the first one for the Sheffield Wed game and the Chelsea game the others didn’t actually put many more on the attendance!
    It’s maybe cheaper to go as a family but for the ordinary man or woman it’s still the same price and I’m assuming the match day prices will remain the same otherwise that will have a bearing on season tickets too if they are cheaper.
    A free pint won’t make anyone think differently, most weeks you can walk into a pub and see home and away games from a foreign channel as long as that is available the waverers will spend their match day ticket money there! You can buy a lot of pints for £26!!
    **AV writes: No one is suggesting it will swing the deal. It is a gesture. But prices have been frozen for eight years (and a ST gets you a huge discount every week) and with the finances the way they are there is no leeway to cut those prices.
    We are still working on matchday prices and will be arguing for offers along the way next term. You say they made no difference but actually the gates for the Huddersfield/Bristol two for one were around the 22,000 mark or 7,000 more than they would have been expecting. That has got to be seen as a success.

  9. Sounds like it’s a call to exercise our duty with Beers, Whines and Spirit of Teesside – I can almost imagine the booze wringing out around an intoxicated Riverside next season.
    Anyway, hopefully somehow Mogga can take us back to PL Nirvana and then this will most certainly be a bargain.
    Smells like Teesside Spirit:
    Here we are now entertain us,
    I feel stupid and contagious,
    Here we are now entertain us…

  10. Congratulations, AV. A lot of the ideas have come from you and the discussions you have promoted on this blog. A triumph for fan and press activism. And respect to Steve Gibson for listening and acting.
    I’m raising my first glass to Mogga, the best hope we have for long term success.

  11. Can I ask why the supporters in the East Stand have not been consulted about the ground changes? If I am to sit next to the area where away supporters are then surely we should have been told about it. The Twel12th Man and Red Faction only make up part of the support at this club.
    **AV writes: There were a wide cross section of fans included in the various meetings and other consultations and I know at least one was personally affected by the proposals but was soon persuaded of the need to make the changes.
    I think most people can understand the arguments. The club needed whole blocks freed up to make serious changes viable rather than just tinker around the edges. There are sections where only one or two season ticket holders occupy whole rows. It is crazy to think that progressive – and neccessary – reconfiguration that benefits the club should be shelved because of odd fans defiantly sitting it out like the isolated farmhouse on the M62.
    Personally, I don’t think it went far enough. I’d have closed the North West and South West corners too and encouraged migration to the new South Stand with a bit of creative pricing and not sell the top couple of rows at all to push everyone closer to make the ground look full.

  12. The gestures are precisely that.
    A friend received a gift voucher for £200 from her employer and grumbled. Out of the kindness of my heart I offered to take it off her.
    Any gesture is welcome. I think it is good they are coming up with ideas for the kids and the family. It would be good if there was a little bit of flexibility in seating as well. Let new friendships develop between the kids so they want to meet up again at the match.
    At least they are trying which is more… no, I wont go there because they are all trying.
    Maybe ill directed but I wont accuse any player or member of staff of not trying.

  13. My gripes with the club was sitting in the North Stand you were faced with an empty end opposite. Also smog jnr is turning into a Boro nut but £14 a game it had to be a special, special, special treat to watch a defeat against Barnsley.
    So the Club offer a a price freeze.- Nice one.
    Take Smog Jnr for Free – Brilliant
    Did I mention I like a beer? – Cheers!!
    Looks a ruddy good deal from where I am

  14. While the club should rightly be derided for the tosh served up on the pitch at present, anyone who grumbles about the new ST initiatives is a born pessimist and will never be happy.
    This is a great and, unusually, considered attempt and well done to all. A few home wins in a row next season and this will be an absolute bargain.

  15. That all sounds pretty good AV. Well done to the club, another positive move off the field.
    The cynical Teesider in me can’t resist editing your work. You said “The sorry sight of a Boro goal flying in at that end with no backdrop of celebration must be a big turn-off for would-be fans”.
    Didn’t you mean “The occasional sight of a Boro goal flying in…”? Sorry, as I said I couldn’t resist, but for once this is a positive story and a nice change. well done to all involved.

  16. All round it looks to me like an excellent initiative. The club have clearly tried to put together incentives for those that cant currently afford to come regularly to start to do so alongside re-configuring the stadium to hopefully improve the atmosphere which in itself gives better value for money and hopefully an extra competitive edge.
    Also. I, like AV, would have thought closing off a couple of the corners would be a good idea and also concentrating ticket sales in the centre of stands but what has been announced is a big step forward.
    What pleases me the most is the very fact that the club has engaged in a debate with the local paper and fans groups, hopefully they will make this a routine part of what they do. Although it means that for the papers journalists when they start to actively support and promote what the club is doing some fans will accuse them of being the clubs propaganda department, a small price worth paying though I think.
    I can feel that hope building again, Birmingham at home? a three point banker surely!!! lol.

  17. What about those of us who just want to watch the Boro and their free flowing attractive, successful, expansive football. Why are we always left out?
    Typical Boro pandering to the face painting, taking their seat 10 minutes after Kick Off, leave early to avoid the rush, which way are we kicking brigade!
    Still just relieved its a free pint and not a free pair of Roary Rose tinted specs.

  18. You can move the fans around and compact them in certain areas to make the ground look fuller and try to generate a better atmosphere but the bottom line is it isn’t going to make the slightest difference if the quality of football doesn’t improve!
    Against Cardiff the 15,500 fans created a brilliant atmosphere and made just as much noise as the 28,000 at the Chelsea game because we were being entertained,the players were trying and giving 100% and we won!

  19. The continued support and recent initiatives introduced by SG are most welcome. I have no doubt, however, that both he and his Chief Executive are fully aware that the only certain way to increase attendance and gate income is by the quality of the product on the field of play.
    It took me less than six home games this season to form the opinion that the members of the current squad do not possess the necessary skills to provide this quality for an extended period. Sadly my opinion proved to be correct. It is credit to TM that he was able to extract favourable results for as long as he did.
    I am amazed at the suggestion that prices should be slashed. Unlike you I have not had the benefit of sight of the accounts – either audited or management – nor the cash flow but many of the statements and figures simply do not add up.
    We are advised that the wage bill stands at £16M per annum and that gate money is the main source of income. I am not aware of the mix of the various ticket prices but with a ST sale of 15000 each £100 would yield £1.5m. At a £400 average (generous) this amounts to £6m. Increasing sales to 20000 would raise the income to £8m and 25000 to £10m.
    Whilst the wage bill may be the largest cost factor it is by no means the only one. The obvious conclusion is that other income – sponsorship SG etc makes up much more than 50% of total income.
    I am led to believe that first squad wages in the Championship range from £7500 to £15000 per week ie £9m to £18m per annum. To be successful, therefore, our cost are not going to materially decrease.
    Perhaps those who jib at the efforts of the management team would like to consider these figures and advise me where my figures are in error, if, indeed, they are.
    My only criticism of the pricing structure is that for the over 65s and I speak as one of their number. I can understand the logic behind reduced prices for the younger element and for family tickets to encourage future support but I cannot understand why someone who chooses to begin support in later life should receive benefits unavailable to under 65 long term supporters.
    Would it not make more sense to offer reductions on ST for continuous length of support ie after 10, 15 or 20 years unbroken? To say that other clubs adopt the over 65s reduction is no valid argument.
    **AV writes: There has been no specific discussion on the Over 65s but we will raise the question.
    To aid your fag packet maths, after costs and tax, the average take per head on a season ticket is less than a tenner. Sponsorship, hospitality and merchandising bring in very little, a lot less than £2m The black hole that even your rough working out has revealed is filled by Steve Gibson writing out a cheque, This season he will put in £12m or there abouts. From next season when Financial Fair Paly kicks in his imput is limited to a maximum of £8m.
    Somewhere Boro have to find £4m to stay on this level. Some will come from cutting the wage bill this summer when a few of the big earners leave. Hopefully some will come from increased take at the gates. If is a very real possibility that the balance will be met by player sales.
    On the Over 65s, I will stick on the list for the next meeting.

  20. This is a good start, and lays more bricks in the foundations you have talked about AV. I also would have supported yours and others in closing the corners to compact the crowd into smaller areas, ( this would also help the fans keep warm in the cold months!!!! ).
    The only other comment is for the matches to be graded, which has been suggested previously, apply this to the season ticket value, then it would be easier to offer discounted walk up prices during the season when we are playing say Peterborough on a Tuesday night in February.
    For me the walk up prices are still too expensive for a large number of fans who cannot afford a ST. Again the bundles option based on the graded matches could be considered, whilst I appreciate not having too many complicated pricing structures, but some leeway as the season progresses.

  21. I have my seat in block 36 east upper which I will be asked to pay £475 for this next season, no complaints and thanks for a pint at every home game (saving me about £80) but if I step across the aisle into the family section in the same block (about 10 foot away) I would only have to pay £400 for a seat and one for my 14 yr old son (who has no interest in football).
    Or even better get a seat for my grandson (under 11) who when visiting from Andover could fit one match a season and it would only cost me £370 a saving of £105 from my normal season ticket and I would have virtually the same view.
    Take off my £80 saving on my pint and its only costing me £290.

  22. I left the north east many years ago. I try to get to a game each year but it’s not always possible. For the first time in years I really want to be there. This is such a massive step forwards. Ayresome – quiet at one end, admittedly. But shove the away fans in to the corner.
    I can’t stand listening to the rubbish that floats around the club. after such a major statement from Boro I really hope that people will rally round. There is only one way to stop the slide. and that’s a full Riverside

  23. If you say (in response to GC) that the average season ticket only yields £10 per head (per game I assume) – then 10,000 season ticket sales (I can’t say we’d expect much more next season if the play-off thing doesn’t work out) would only yield £2.3m (23 games x 10,000 x £10).
    Even if you end up with around an average attendance of 15,000 that would barely give the club £4m – therefore if Steve Gibson stumps up £12m, he paying on his own three times more than all the other Boro supporters put together.
    I guess that puts into perspective what the task would be for those calling for him to step down.
    So until that PL promotion comes along then we can only expect more downsizing – especially as Gibson’s cash injection is being reduced by £4m per year for the next few years by the so called ‘fair play’ rules.
    Incidently, Fair Play seems to favour any club with parachute payments who can afford to pay for much better players for around three years, which virtually guarantees that there will be six clubs in any given season with far superior budgets to the rest – unless of course they are all carrying unsustainable debt like QPR.
    **AV writes: Yes, I think season tickets bring in about £2.5m. The walk up and away fans tend to pay more and are mainly adult tickets so the yield per head is higher so they add another £1.2m or so. Then there is just under £2m in ‘solidarity payments’ from the Football League (Premier league trickle down hush money) and TV money. Throw in sponsorship and commercial activity and you get another £1m or so. Income is £8m or thereabouts, plus anything from cup runs (I think we will get £275,000) from the prize fund.
    There was also the transfer income, chiefly £3.25, down for Joe Bennett with instalments to follow (£250,000 for every 25 appearances up to 100 I think it is).
    Outgoings include £16m in wages, about £4m to run the stadium (maintainence, the pitch, stewarding, utilities, rates, matchday staff wages, security and collection of the cash, fiirst aid and police cover, cleaning etc) £1m to run the first team operation (scouting, medical support, transport and hotels for away games, the Prozone operation etc) and £2.4m to run the Academy (although they get a £750,000 grant towards that). There
    Currently Steve Gibson is bridging the gap of around £10m. Next season he will be limited to £8m which leaves a shortfall that will have to be met either through increased revenue, savings (chiefly wages) or player sales. Hence the vital way to find a way of increasing crowds and matchday income.
    So you can see why Boro need to increase

  24. Great idea for free kids seats in certain areas. However I’ve taken my son to games since he was 6. He’s now 19 and a student but can only get a concession in the corners or south stand.
    Why can under 18’s get concessions throughout the ground but not under 21’s? I don’t want to sit behind the goal just so I can sit with my son for the odd game when he’s home from Uni. If i did move the club would lose money as I would pay less than for my current ticket in the West Stand. I had this argument with the club last year and I find it unfair that my son either has to sit alone or pay full price which as a student he can’t afford.
    What’s the point in the club encouraging kids and then making it difficult for them to continuing supporting the boro when they reach 18?

  25. AV, I have had to click off an infuriating advert 4 or 5 times to read the latest blogs, making me determined never to go to the place which is being advertised ever again. Did you know that your work was being used as a hoarding? Can anything be done to avert this form of pollution? It will quickly put me off using the site.
    **AV writes: No, I nothing about the adverts and I don’t see them because I work from inside looking out. Obviously you should click on them and bring much needed revenue to pay my wages,. Or install an ad-blocker add-on to your browser.

  26. Re my previous blog that never got posted regarding Geoff Harlands comment.
    what is to stop people buying a season ticket for themselves and naming an under 11 to get a cheaper ticket but never taking the child.
    Cheap seat in the East stand! years ago a lot of adults got into the ground using junior tickets,how are the club going to monitor this to stop this happening??
    **AV writes: You’d soon get outted as a grumpy interloper once you started snapping at the squeaky chanting of Boro’s feared Baby Squad.

  27. Thanks for the figures AV (Summarised below), all very interesting and it essentially highlights the problems we are now facing.
    If you take away the Joe Bennet sale and Steve Gibson’s input being reduced to £8m by Fair Play rules then Boro will have £5.5m less to spend next season. I don’t know how much of that will be saved when some big contracts expire but I would think we may need to sell one of our assets again to bridge the gap – and that’s before we talk about funding any new players.
    BTW Could Steve Gibson get around the fair play rules by having Bulkhaul sponsor the stadium for a few million?
    EXPENDITURE: £21.5m
    Wages: £16m
    Running Costs: £4m
    Academy (minus Grant): £1.5m
    INCOME: £7-8m
    Ticket Sales: £3.7m
    Football League Payments: £2m
    Prize Money: £275k
    Sponsorships & Commercial Activities: £1m
    SHORTFALL: £13.5m
    Player Sales: £3.25m
    Gibson’s Wallet: £10.25m
    **AV writes: That’s about the size of it. There are a few variables. There’s a new sponsorship with Ramsdens which is quite bit bigger than the last one . McManus, Bailey, Arca will be off the wage bill. But basically yes, either the matchday take goes up or the likelihood is that players will be sold to balance the books.
    I think the rules allow sponsorship and naming rights deals from allied companies but they have to be “at the market rate” so they can’t suddenly charge Bulkhaul £10m, if similar deals – John Smiths Stadium etc – are going for £500k. It will be very interesting to see the figures for the new AmEx deal at Brighton.

  28. Reading the various posts on here one thing strikes me, the club desperatley needs to increase its income against a background of the introduction of financial fair play and the recession making most Teessiders skint.
    However there is also the issue of dealing with the ‘where’s all the money gone?’ brigade who seem to think that some foul play is afoot because SG isn’t pouting all his personal wealth and his companies profits into the club for our benefit.
    Seriously, I think it would be an excellent idea for the club to publish a set of broadbrush financial figures showing the basic income streams and amounts compared to the various costs. In otherwords a brodbrush budget.
    AV has essentially done it on a post above, but to do it formally in the Gazette the club would at a stroke demonstrate what it is up against balancing the books and showing just to what a huge extent the club needs SG’s financial support. It would help silence those that think there is something dodgy going on and it may galvanise support for the various offers just announced.
    Seeing the numbers on this blog as a footnote to a post is great, but despite what we think the blog community is I suspect a minority, for fans seeing something official published in the Gazette with club consent would carry a lot of weight.
    Of course what would galvanise interest in this offer is for Boro to reach the play off final, win or loose it would inspire a few to jump back on the Mogganaut next season.
    The parachute payments dont worry me yet, at the moment any of the clubs relegated this season will be in so much debt and will be carrying such high costs that the parachute payments will be of little consequence, whether that is QPR or any other club. The peoblem comes as more clubs adopt the Boro model of living within means such as I beleive WBA have, if the ycome down then you’ve got strong competition from a stable club.
    EaglescliffeRed – Its your job to shell out for your student sons ticket – you’re his Dad! (tongue in cheek).
    **AV writes: To be fair, we have hammered the financials in the Gazette for the past 18 months now. Mogga mentions the backdrop every other week. If people aren’t aware by now we are broke then they haven’t been paying attention. Or they don’t want to know.

  29. Squeaky chanting reminds me of an U21 game that included Jonathan Greening at Pride Park. Some bright spark came up with agressive pricing aimed at families and giving horns to the kids.

  30. Reading through the blog I agree with Nigel Reeve in that the figures bandied around by GC, Werdermouth, AV and then ultimately simply broken down by Werdermouth in a digestible format would benefit the wider Gazette readership.
    I know there has been widespread talk on a regular basis and everyone harping on about the club being skint but I still don’t believe it is clearly understood (if at all) and why, plus it might help our lesser enlightened to stop blaming SG for being tight.
    Having said all the above it only reinforces my view that if we don’t go up this year then we are possibly looking at another Stan Anderson era. No club has ever been promoted with the number of games we have lost already this season so for me it is too late already but if the dim flicker is to keep burning Mogga needs to inspire and motivate like never before in his career starting tomorrow.

  31. In short, if Boro are to be promoted now or at any time in the foreseeable future, it will not be a promotion bought with the largesse of a rich benefactor.
    We will only be able to put together a team of players acquired cheaply and on “reasonable” wages, or players we have “grown” ourselves using the academy. There may be scope for good scouting, buying players for lowish fees because they haven’t come to the attention of our competitors, and therefore getting value from them on the field and possibly when later selling them on for a profit.
    Promotion following that prudent approach may not be as impossible as it sounds, whereas spending lots of money certainly doesn’t guarantee success. Much of the spending that was undertaken at our club was not at all successful, both in the early days of the Riverside Revolution, and as the revolution came to its sorry end.
    Big money contributions have been made to assist the pension funds of older players, or injured players, who came to the club but really didn’t show much on the pitch. And in light of all this, to learn that the scouting operation had been virtually closed down….(!).
    I realise there will always be bargains to be found, whilst on the other hand there will be purchases that seem sensible at the time, yet turn out to be unsuccessful when looked at later. Obviously we can hardly afford to buy big at the present. Yet without a scouting network how can we find the gems, the unheard of players from abroad or from lower league teams, who can progress with our club?
    Not having a scouting network is like a farmer not having seeds to plant for the next growing season. Unbelievable.
    The thing is that young players brought through our system don’t need time to acclimatise to our region, they cost little, they are probably on lower wages than would have to be paid to get “outsiders” to come here, and the crowd will usually be on their side. They are “one of us”. Players brought in from lower leagues, who think Boro is a step up in their career, should be full of enthusiasm and fight. Plenty of “big names” haven’t showed too much of that!
    Ideally we’d be promoted to the Premier League. But even if we were, we couldn’t go back again to spendthrift ways. We’d have to be prudent – a Swansea rather than a Portsmouth – because we’d still be big favourites to come straight back down and if that happened we wouldn’t want our expenditure to break the club. This isn’t just a year or two of further austerity which Boro faces. Like a successful diet, it will have to be a diet for life.
    We must be realistic. I can feel a “we are where we are” coming on…..
    Incidentally, if I were a rich(ish) club owner, doing my best to come up with ideas to keep the club on an even keel, if I were having to put £10M a year or thereabouts into the pot, and if I heard supporters then decry those efforts to encourage people to buy tickets for next season….I might be a little upset. If he walked away, I doubt there would be a long queue of people, with the money and enthusiasm, ready and willing to take his place. Then what???

  32. Another International break coming up. A great opportunity to give the lads a well earned rest as some R and R is in order. Mogga should take them away,a little more bonding may be required – a week in Saltburn should do the trick. If it was good enough for Big Jack’s team, then it should work wonders for this lot.
    **AV writes: At least it is in our price range.

  33. Before the Birmingham -Resurrection Shuffle -Dejection Kerfuffle (delete as appropriate) takes to the stage, a final word about the subject of Boro myth-busting…
    Those people who think Boro are deliberately trying to throw promotion for reasons of some financial masterplan – It should be noted that under the new PL TV deal, the club finishing in last place will now receive £60m, plus an additional £60m in parachute payments spread over four years.
    So can anyone give a valid reason why Steve Gibson would forfeit £120m for one year in the PL, given that it would equate to 15 years worth of current Championship income?
    Which kind of brings us onto Dormo’s point about the necessity of being prudent if Boro were lucky enough to get promoted – surely it would make sense to sign players on a lower basic wage that are geared towards a large bonus if PL survival is acheived rather than throw around money upfront.
    OK you may not attract the usual trophy players, but top Championship players and pretty decent German, Dutch, Belgium or other european players would not get better in their own countries – plus up-and-coming players wanting to be in the shop window would probably jump at the chance. Though whether the whispering in the ear by parasitic agents would preclude players from accepting such deals is debatable.
    So given what Boro have been through since relegation, it really makes no sense to sign players on long expensive contracts in the hope they will live up to the price tag – Our experience is that rarely they do, mostly they don’t.
    Besides, being sensible with the PL money would probably give you a very good chance of only having a brief stay in the Championship if relegated and not having to go through the upheaval of downsizing and then rebuilding on a tight budget. Whether that would just be seen as lack of ambition by supporters is a risk.
    Down is the new up (as Radiohead would say)

  34. A quick run in the surf along Redcar beach (good enough to cure horses with muscle problems so should be fine for football players), five miles to Saltburn. A quick fish + chips next to the end of the pier at Saltburn, then into the bus to get back to Boro.
    Sounds a fairly good fitness routine. Mushy peas but no scraps. Putting back the fuel burned off in the run. Back to basics. Get it organised….

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