Let's stop the ticket price fiasco

Last updated : 22 December 2005 By Sarah Rudd
What are Steve Gibson and his marketing team doing? Do they really believe that this is the best way to make money on the doors?

If so I think someone should go and look at the attendance for the home matches this season.

At the start of the season the long serving and religious fans were complaining about the part-time supporters not bothering to go to matches especially because of the weather and the game being on television.

But as the season has went on such fans have been joining them on the couch.

We live in a working class area, one of the poorest in the country and we are expected to pay exhaustive amounts to sit in an empty stadium.

I’m sure the atmosphere of the crowd must have a significant effect on the Boro’s performance and I’m terrified what the result will be tonight against Blackburn in the Carling Cup.

For this evening quarter final round match only two stands, yes two stands, the north and the east will be open.

And how much I hear you cry will it cost to sit in a quiet Riverside £20 and £16 for under-16’s.

So what can we do?

We can voice our thoughts to Steve Gibson and his marketing team and demand change.

So sent us your name, town of residence, history with the club (eg how often you go to the match, if you are a season ticket holder, etc) and views to ruddsara20@hotmail.com and we’ll put it on the site.

Then we’ll send them on to Mr Gibson.

Your replies

Darren Byrne

Chesterfield, Derbyshire

I was born in Middlebrough and raised there until I was 5 then moved down to Chesterfield. My dad has been a life long Boro fan and raised me to be the same. It’s hard for us to get to games living where we do, the cost would be £35 train £25 ticket and £25 spending money nearly £100 to come watch Boro which I have spent before and do not mind doing so. But when these games are being covered on TV and lack of atmosphere that is at the ground it makes me wonder if I will make the trip up again this season, having been to three matches already. Why not lower prices of cup games and make it worth while for people to get there arses out of the house and go watch the Boro, its not exactly like we have dull matched there. Something needs to be done to get the fans back. I myself am not sure what can be done, but it is depressing watching these live games and seeing so many empty seats. It makes me wonder if I did go to watch would I make a difference to the crowd???? I alone would not, but we need to sell the fans that don’t have season tickets reasons to come back to the Riverside. I hate to see the club like this. What motivation can the players have when turning out to a half empty stadium!!!!!!!!!!!! I myself think its bad situation at the moment I want to buy a half season ticket I just hope the club pushes the boat out to get more people at games.

Daniel Richardson

Milton Keynes

How about include the first 5 - 7 cup games per year free with a season ticket.
This was done at Spurs a few years back and was very successful.

The truth is Middlesbrough’s poor performances this year at home are due to non attendance of fans ..... get the fans in .... the team will improve and will create a knock on effect .... win more and people will come and watch .... this adds value to the season ticket and may actually increase numbers of season ticket holders

I live in Milton Keynes and mainly only attend away games with some exceptions. If I 
were local I would be a season ticket holder but unlikely to pay £20 to watch a
game in the dead of winter when I can watch it in my own home (with a beer and a fag).
John Walker
I live in Chesterfield and I have been to a couple of the Uefa cup matches, I am going
to my first Carling Cup game tonight and I have a season ticket. I have attended 3
away games in Europe and had a season ticket whilst living in Aberdeen. I would
go to more of the cup matches and European home games but I have fuel to pay for
and kick off times are a massive issue for me.
5:15 on a Saturday is a nightmare kick off as I take my wife out on a Saturday night. 
I have long believed that we risk elimination from cup matches if we do not get behind
the team, look at the Litex game, the senior players really struggled to get going in
that match and I am sure the low attendance had an effect.
John Donovan
North Stand and former AP season ticket holder
Reading you article regarding ticket prices at the Riverside it struck me that you 
find only the club to blame for the dwindling attendances. In my opinion the
major factor has been that many of Boro's games, both league and UEFA cup,
have been on TV. Sky have the right to demand which games they cover as it in
their contract with the premier league, the individual clubs cannot contest Sky's
choice. Boro are handsomely paid for the games that are covered, this
compensates for the reduction in attendances that televised matches bring.

Financial clout is essential to an ambitious team; all successful teams are
ones with good incomes. We, as fans, want our team to progress so we
should accept that the club will take the money from the TV companies
because it all aids our progression. Our ticket prices are not out of line with
other premiership clubs, even matches where prices have been reduced
by the club are poorly attended. The recent UEFA cup match was
watched by less than 10,000 fans despite tickets being £15 with a
£10 retail voucher thrown in. Fans apathy is part of the attendance
problem. Those that cannot go to the games due to financial reasons, work
commitments, family commitments or travel logistics have my sympathy but
there are LOTS of Boro fans who have the attitude of 'I can't be
bothered, it's on TV anyway'.

As for the atmosphere at the matches, some fans will jump out of their seats
to complain but refuse to join in when a song starts up. You are correct in
saying that the atmosphere within the stadium affects the team but I'm afraid
there are too many fans who won't do anything to improve it.

The reason the Blackburn Rovers match will only be watched by Boro fans sat
in 2 stands is because that is the cheapest financial option for the club. Demand
for tickets has been poor so to save money on staff only 2 stands will be open.
It is a disgrace that a quarter final of a major cup competition can be treat with
disregard by so many fans.
Thank god Gibbo is loyal!
Merry Christmas.