Middlesbrough Supporters Forum……Meeting 15.
Held at Middlesbrough F.C., Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough @7pm.12th April, 2018.
Caroline Walker Chair – Middlesbrough Supporters Forum
Peter Hodgson Secretary – Middlesbrough Supporters Forum
Christopher Joseph President – Middlesbrough Supporters Forum
Paddy Cronesberry, MBE. MDSA.
Rob Nichols Fly Me to The Moon Fanzine
Representative Red Faction Fans Group
Mark Motley Middlesbrough Supporters South
John Donovan Twe12thMan Group
Mark Ellis Middlesbrough FC.
Yvonne Ferguson Middlesbrough FC.
David Roberts Apologies for absence. Working in Singapore.
No representation from MOSC as their meeting clashed with this meeting.
We were joined by:-
Ian Sanders – Director at TicketMaster – David Joyes – CFO at MFC – and Chris Chapman & Joanne Swinnerton from MFC (Ticket office / admin.)
Per normal practice, after circulation to all parties by e-mail, the minutes of meeting 14 were accepted as read.
It was agreed that we discuss the issue of On-Line Ticket sales problems first and Ian Sanders from TicketMaster explained latest info about the situation before we go into tonight’s MSF agenda.
fmttm and RedArmy.tv had posted written complaints aired on their sites. A number of fans had expressed frustration at on line problems experienced when trying to buy tickets for the Derby County game. Problems were many & varied. Similar issues had been experienced for the Burton Albion & Sheff Utd games. Various side issues had also occurred during fans attempts to get on-line but were frustrated. Ian Sanders was grilled by some of those seated around the table.
Chris & Joanne explained some of the issues that had been encountered by the Ticket office with these problems. TicketMaster had made a huge effort to sort out problems on-line before the Derby game and had been very surprised at how badly affected the system had been.
Ian Sanders had issued an apology to fans through The Forum over all these issues and was aware of the stress it had caused Ticket Office staff and fans alike.
Mark Ellis referred to actions that had been taken by MFC to solve the problem. It appeared to be an issue with AWAY tickets only and problems have been identified and hopefully resolved.
Ian Sanders explained that the major ticket problem for the Burton and Derby games was caused by an unforseen consequence of a site update, that has now been identified and solved.
TM have worked extremely hard to provide a properly functioning system for Boro fans on all platforms and he was confident that the ticket system for the Ipswich game would be spot on.
A general discussion on various other issues on future ticketing arrangements ensued and Ian answered all of the answers expertly and gave plenty of information as to TM’s efforts to make sure that TM are at the head of the field on delivering the best product for us. To this end, he suggested that they will introduce a “real-life Fans application test panel” using some of our members to try out various new application systems using their own method of applying for tickets and report on their own experiences. This idea was warmly welcomed.
Ian also provided a short presentation on BEST BUY PRACTICES when buying on-line.
It included lots of “do’s and don’ts hints for applying on line and highlighted several new ways of ticket applications that TM are looking to introduce soon. We may soon see ticket delivery DIRECT to our Mobile Phone or other device. Swansea City have trialled this with great success. The subject of identifying and supplying Disabled members ticketing was also discussed and Ian stated that TM were already looking for a better booking experience for ALL disabled fans whatever their needs.
A question was asked about the “small print” on the booking platform when applying for new “season cards” in particular about the “T & C’s” applicants have to click on. Would MFC event partner honour the marketing settings that supporters create in their digital accounts?
ME said he would look into this but the MFC marketing preferences set by a supporter should take precedence.
Thanks were given by Caroline Walker to Ian for his very informative and in-depth information given to a pretty important problem that our fans had encountered recently. Joanne and Chris were also thanked for their attendance to give us an insight as to how the problems were dealt with “in-house” during a very hectic time.
1) UPDATE on FOODBANK: ( YF/CW )
Due to time restrictions at this end of season – we are considering a date in June when the club are holding the NEW KIT LAUNCH DAY at the Riverside. In addition a possible collection could be held at the home pre-season friendly if arranged.
2) Business Cards: (PH)
Have been delivered and are now with CW. Will be distributed at next meeting.
3) Update on Rail Seating (aka Safe Standing)
It was felt that given recent developments we seek to arrange a meeting with our local Conservative MP, Simon Clarke to discuss this further to our previous efforts.
Mark Ellis said that he has seen the latest draft of The GREEN GUIDE which covers stadium design including standing criteria and discussed it with his Sports Ground Safety Authority representative in order to better understand their approach to this topic.
CW to write to MP /Secretary for urgent meeting.
4) Update on heating in concourses. (CJ).
Chris asked if there had been any further thought on the issue bearing in mind the very cold weather spells this winter.
ME stated that there has been further heating units installed in the North stand and he has not ruled out more if deemed essential for fans comfort. However, the position will stay under review due to budget constraints.
5) Reciprocal pricing in potential play-off games. (JD)
John Donovan asked the question of special reciprocal pricing at the play-off games and citing the numbers at the Boro v Ipswich games as an example of how this could benefit fans and club.
Mark Ellis stated that MFC is unlikely to participate and “will maintain our own price structure.”
Stairs / trip hazards and Dock Bridge Road works.
Mark Ellis reported that all issues re – possible stadium step problems have been investigated and repaired – and that work on the Dock Bridge upgrade work will NOT be completed until August 2018.
Captain COOK – 250th Anniversary – August 2018. (RN/PH/DR/CW/YF)
Cleveland Centre manager Graham Skillen has confirmed that ENDEAVOUR boat is still in storage on site. He is happy to make the boat available for us for a Capt. COOK event around the Riverside Stadium. He pointed out the potential costs for moving and re-rigging the vessel. Needs to be done by specialists. He is happy to discuss further and help where possible. Group will investigate for possible action.
There being no further issues, meeting closed at 8.45pm. Next meeting at Riverside on Monday 14th May at 7.00pm.