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Middlesbrough Awaydaze
Thursday, 1st Mar 2018 22:06 by Tim Whelan

Our visit to Middlesbrough is yet another game live on Sky, this time with a 7.45 PM kick-off tomorrow evening, provided of course that the game survives the ‘beast from the east’. We’re not famous any more!

Boro’s official website says “A clear-up operation which began in earnest on Wednesday continued on Thursday after Teesside was hit by several more inches of snow overnight. Work is ongoing to ensure the pitch and stands remain clear and the club is working closely with the relevant authorities, including Middlesbrough Council and the Police, to ensure the stadium and surrounding areas are safe. Gritters and snow ploughs have been working on the car parks and approach roads.”

The best way to get there is to take the A1 up to Darlington and then the A66 exit. Carry on through the centre of Middlesbrough and you will pick up signs for the Riverside Stadium. There is a small amount of parking available at the stadium itself, which has to be pre-booked, but there are a number of private parks (mostly on waste land) nearby.

The best option is to follow the route marked "away coaches" from the A66, which passes many private car parks along the river, all priced at £4, although these can take up to 45 minutes to clear after the game. The other option is to park in the town centre, which is a 15-20 minute walk from the stadium.

It’s just over a mile from the railway station. From the main station entrance, turn left onto Zetland Road, then left again into Albert Road and carry on under the railway bridge. Turn immediately right into Bridge Street East, going past the Bridge pub (not recommended for away fans) and then take the next right into Wynward Way. The stadium is down this road and you can’t miss it.

There is a train back at 22.50, which will get you back to Leeds at 00.43 once you’ve changed in York, provided of course the service has recovered from the weather disruption it suffered today. When the stadium first opened there was talk of building a halt on the site of the former ‘Cargo Fleet’ station (the closest point to the stadium on the railway line) but unfortunately this has never happened.

With the stadium being built in an isolated spot on a post-industrial wasteland there are very few pubs or takeaways nearby, so you will need to hang around in the town centre before moving onto the Riverside. One recommended pub is Doctor Brown’s, a ten minute walk away from the ground at the bottom of Corporation Road, in the city centre, which pub serves real ale and usually allows both home and away fans inside.

The riverside was opened in August 1995, as Boro could never bring Ayresome Park up to the standards demanded by the Taylor report, so the site of the old stadium is now a housing estate. The Riverside was built in only 32 weeks, and at the time of it’s opening it was the largest new stadium to be built in this country since the war. The initial capacity was 30,000, though this was increased to 35,100 in 2008, and there is room to expand even further if the need should ever arise in the future.

As with most other modern stadia it lacks character, but the facilities are very nice. The away section is now in the east stand and there would be good legroom if we ever sat down. There is a good view, but one downside is the concourse is rather narrow, so it can get a little bit crowded. Our allocation is only 2,600, which is down from previous years, though none of us will worry about Boro denying themselves the extra income.

Tickets for the upper tier of the away section cost £30 for adults, with over 65s paying £20 and under 18s £17. They were originally sold through the ‘Attendance Tracker’ loyalty scheme, and although a small number remained for other season ticket holders and members, they have now sold out. Boro’s site says that 27,000 tickets have been sold already (without mentioning whether this includes the Leeds contingent), so it should be a decent crowd.

There is a bar at the back of the away end which serves lager, bitter, cider and even wine. Food-wise, the catering is mostly the usual football ground stuff, though they do have something called a 'Parmo in a bun', which is apparently a local dish involving chicken in breadcrumbs, creamy sauce and cheese. It costs a mere £4.20, so look out for that one.

Let’s hope they can get the game on, so it doesn’t end up being a wasted trip.

Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com .


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