The Riverside - Guide
Ah Christmas time, mistletoe and wine and the annual December trek to the Boro away.
Fixture list never changes, it wouldn`t be so bad if this was the green and pleasant part of the country they used to sing about but it`ll cold, it`ll be damp and hopefully normal service will be continued in that we`ll still be regarded as Boro`s bogey team.
Ayresome Park, do we miss it? Not a chance. What a horrible, run the gauntlet place that was. Following the Taylor Report, Boro realised that the old place would be limited to 20000 with seats so they took the decision with Teeside Development Corporation to build a complete new ground. Ayresome Par, the home of football to the Boro for 92 years was doomed. There were 14 options for the ground offered along with several sites, and eventually the Middlehaven site by the river Tees was taken up. The fans chose the grounds name following the final game at AP. Opened in 1995 the opening game saw Boro beat Chelski 2-0. It only took a mind boggling 32 weeks to complete, and even by today's standards a total build cost of £16million looks excellent value for money. There is still a reminder of Ayresome Park- the gates which were famously locked when the club went in to liquidation have been erected at the entrance to the Riverside, a constant reminder of the bad old days.
The ground has a capacity of 34,988. It has been extended over the years and is now completely enclosed. Now we'll know that we've been to a big club ground as they have, wait for it, and 2 electronic scoreboards!!!
And to think, we thought we'd made it when we had the scanlite countdown clock on top of the old scratching.
How To Get There
M55, M6 North, that's right NORTH. Leave the M6 at J38 (Brough) and join the A685 at the 2nd exit off the roundabout. Stay on the 685 for 16 miles then join the A66. Just after Scotch Corner Services, join the A1 North. After 4 miles and only 1 junction leave at J57 and join the A66.
The ground is well sign posted from the A66. The 66 heads eastbound towards Middlesbrough, continue on the A66 through the town centre to the next roundabout, take the first exit into Shepherdson's Way for the ground, and take the third exit for the town centre.
Sat navvers - TS3 6RS
For the Virgin Lovers amongst us - The ground is walkable from Middlesbrough train station. If you come out of the main entrance turn left onto Zetland Road. Then left again, onto Albert Road, and go under the railway bridge. Turn immediately right into Bridge Street East, going past the Bridge pub and then take the next right onto Wynward Way. The stadium is down this road. If you come out of the rear station entrance, turn right onto Bridge Street East. Go straight past the Bridge pub and then take the next right onto Wynward Way for the ground.
For those taking up the Samm Airways flight, Teeside Airport is 13miles away.
Where To Drink
I wonder if the Riverside set the trend for new grounds having crap parking and no pubs nearby?
Doctor Browns allows a mix of home and away fans and is a ten minute walk away from the ground at the bottom of Corporation Road, in the city centre. The Bridge Inn, which is next door to the railway station on Bridge street has mixed reviews, no colours should see you safe.
The town centres not a million miles away but for the last couple of seasons we`ve drunk in the hamlet of Yarm.
Plod & Stewards
Despite electronic turnstiles it's not unknown for some stewards to check ID's before allowing the concessions in to the ground, the 'old chancers' have been warned! It`s been a pleasant experience for us over the last couple of seasons.
With no history between the 2 clubs, I'd hope for a low key approach.
Fear Factor Rating - Old memories of Boro away are fading slowly, 4.
Boxing Day continued the Pool tradition of having a team on the ropes but unable to land the knockout blow. 2 decent performances have seen us return just 1 point from what should have been 6, those 5 lost points = 5 places lower in the league. Boro then Dull at home, it doesn`t get much tougher, here`s hoping we see the last game of 2012 out with a win, a new manager, a new year, renewed optimism is the fare of the day.
Onwards + Upwards