The Riverside Stadium

Ground No. 28
Visited - Saturday 1st November 2003
Result - Middlesbrough 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Competition - FA Barclaycard Premier League
Attendance - 30,305

Having a mate living in Hull, every season we try to arrange to go to at least one game near him together, and this year the first one in his area was Middlesbrough, so it was decided we would meet up have a few beers, go to the match and chat about old times!

The journey up there wasn’t actually too bad, other than just the length of it, which at times seemed to go on forever, especially if you’re travelling on your own. Having to change at 4 different stations broke it up a bit, but still it all went pretty smoothly, and I got to the town for about 1:30pm. Although the person I was supposed to be meeting up with had a different tale to tell, due to various delays and cancellations, he didn’t actually arrive to the ground until just before half time.

Before the game I walked around Middlesbrough town centre for a while, not doing a lot, basically just killing time prior to the match starting, we had got plans to go for a drink, but the trains put a stop to that idea, so ended up going in the club shop, and after having a look round, I queued up for ages just trying to get a programme, apparently all the tills had broken, and they were having to manually write down everything that was being sold, which was a nightmare for the customers, never mind the staff who you had to feel sorry for.

After leaving there, there wasn’t much time, so started to walk to the ground. Finding the stadium itself was fairly easy, having researched the route beforehand, and using the tried and trusted method of following shirts.
The ground itself is quite nice, although having been to Southampton, Leicester, Reading, Derby, etc. its design had been fairly lost on me, it’s a real shame that clubs cant be individual these days, if nothing more than for a matter of pride. But as with all these stadiums, there is nothing that I can really say that hasn’t been said before, they are all very impressive, if repetitive.

As for the game, it was fairly exciting, if slightly controversial. We were doing fine and it was looking like it would end in a draw, until late on the referee decided to change all that. After a dodgy tackle by Lee Naylor on Danny Mills, Middlesbrough had been given a free-kick about 5 yards outside the box, of which not many people could moan about, however immediately afterwards there had been a flare-up between Mills and Naylor, and whilst several players were running over to separate them the ref allowed Boro to take the free-kick quickly and they scored straight from it, whilst the fighting was still going on. After that the game became a bit of a farce, with bad tackles going on all over the place, Alex Rae getting sent off in the last few minutes, but Middlesbrough managed to make a good move down the left only to cross into the box where an unmarked Juninho slotted into the net to finish the game 2-0 to them, so in the end we left the ground on the final whistle a bit angry and dejected.

The atmosphere wasn’t brilliant, despite a fairly large crowd of 30,305 the boro fans didn’t seem to sing a lot until they went in front. We gave it our usual effort, but all in all including the trouble afterwards outside the ground it was a fairly miserable day.

Beforehand in the town and around the ground I hadn’t seen any fighting, but there was a bit of a nasty atmosphere about the place, not particularly helped by the heavy handed policing, who of course were nowhere to be seen after the match when it was all going off. The home fans themselves seemed friendly enough, but as always it was a small minority who decided they would like to cause trouble, I even saw a young girl, about 7/8 with her Dad getting hit in the face by one of them and crying afterwards whilst being caught in the middle of a running battle, some Middlesbrough fans deciding to jump everyone coming out of the away end, fortunately we were able to get out of it, but I heard many other stories like that, with a few coaches being attacked as they were leaving. After avoiding the trouble, getting away from the ground was easy enough, a brief walk back to the station, although im fairly glad that I didn’t have any colours on due to the fighting.

We came half the way back on a train packed full of Villa supporters who we exchanged some good natured banter with, they being in a good mood after a draw up at Newcastle.

It ended up more of a weekend after staying over and having a night out with my friend in Hull, which was good fun, but as for the match, it was pretty disappointing to come away with nothing in a game we could have got something from, up until their controversial first goal.

1 comment:

  1. Did you go to our place on Saturday?? (December 15th)