|Middlesbrough 1 v 1 Leeds United|
Saturday, 9th February 2019 Kick-off 13:00
Thursday, 7th Feb 2019 13:41 by Tim Whelan
Our visit to Middlesbrough kicks off at 1pm on Saturday, and for once it’s not Sky who are responsible for the early start.
It was a police request to bring the kick-off forward, but although Sky aren’t covering the game as their main broadcast, you might still be able to watch it live on the ‘red button’. There is also a beamback at Elland Road, with the details here on the official site.
The best way to get to the Riverside by road 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 at a cost of £6, but there are a number of private parks (mostly on waste land) nearby.
Finally, when you reach the turn off the A66 signposted for the stadium, you can turn right rather than left at the top of the slip road. This takes back across the A66, into an area with plenty of street parking. It is then about a 15-20 minute walk to 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.
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 heading east to Saltburn) 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. For real ale there are five Micropubs, all located very close to one another. They are; the Infant Hercules (Grange Road), Sherlocks, The Slaters Pick, The Twisted Lip (all in Baker Street) and the Devil's Advocate (Borough Road).
The usual away pub is Doctor Brown’s, a ten minute walk away from the ground at the bottom of Corporation Road, in the city centre, which also serves real ale and usually allows both home and away fans inside. But for some ‘high profile games’ (which presumably includes our visit), it can be home supporters only. If you get turned away you can try your luck getting into ‘La Pharmacie’ on the other side of the road, which was once a chemists’ shop.
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 34,742 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 3,000, at a cost of cost £30 for adults, with over 65s paying £20 and under 18s £17, and it has now sold out.
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.
Finally, those awfully nice chaps at Cleveland police are planning to search for pyrotechnics (our usual smoke bombs and flares) and drugs at the turnstiles, with the intention of arresting anyone found in possession of either. They are also going to clamp down on any missile throwing and to disperse any large groups in the town who look like they’re up to no good.
You can read the full police statement here on the official Boro website.
Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com .
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