Date: Saturday 30 September
Post code for sat-nav: TS3 6RS
It goes without saying that the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 was a turning point in football. Pre-‘90s football saw fans squeeze onto terraces like sardines and it was only when tragedy struck that those days became a distant memory. The Taylor Inquiry was commissioned to determine the cause of the fatal crush in the Leppings Lane end and, upon the publishing of the subsequent report in 1990, recommendations were made that football stadiums in the top two tiers of English football should become all-seated by the 1994/95 season.
That recommendation, coupled with the rapidly declining condition of Boro’s Ayresome Park, resulted in the construction of the Riverside, where the club have now resided for 23 seasons. Statues of club legends Wilf Mannion and George Hardwick keep a watchful eye over the stadium perimeter, while the famous red gates of their former home – which were once kept locked by bailiffs investigating the club’s heavy debts in the ‘80s – retain a prominent position in front of the West Stand.
Historically, the stats don’t look great for Brentford. Boro are on a nine-match winning streak against The Bees, stretching back to December 1986, and you’d have to head back into a time when Mannion and Hardwick weren’t mere statues to find Brentford’s sole away win – 1-0 on 26 March 1938.
The club have received 1,198 East Stand tickets for the game, priced at £30 for an adult, £17 for a junior and £20 for seniors.
Did you know?
When the Riverside opened its doors for the start of the 1995/96 season - after a swift 32-week building period - it was the biggest new football stadium to be built since World War Two with an initial 30,000 capacity.
How to get there:
Second only to north east rivals Sunderland, the trip to Middlesbrough’s ground on Teesside is significant in duration to say the least. Using Griffin Park as the departure point, the journey to and from the stadium would take the best part of nine-and-a-half hours, a 514-mile round trip. The majority of those hours are spent on the A1 and the club offers directions when leaving at junction 49:
Leave the A1 (M) at junction 49, signposted to Teesside, and join the A168, which after approximately 11 miles will become the A19. Approximately 19 miles later take the A66 eastbound towards Middlesbrough town centre. Stay on A66 past the town centre (on your right) and follow signs to the stadium, which you will see on your left.
Akin to many northern-based stadiums, parking at the Riverside is simple, with six car parks in the immediate vicinity (A-F). Fans can purchase a parking permit by calling the club’s ticket office on 0844 499 1234, though there are over 3,500 spaces in various car parks in the town centre.
An extended train journey naturally equals increased train prices. A three-hour jaunt up the east coast to Middlesbrough station - with a short change at Darlington – will set you back £130.10 for an adult Super Off-Peak Return, £65.05 for a child. For the jet-setters amongst you, Leeds-Bradford, Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley airports are all within a 65-mile radius of the Riverside.
Where to eat/drink:
The general consensus amongst fans visiting the Riverside is that there aren’t many designated pubs for away fans, other than Doctor Brown’s on Corporation Road, which is a ten-minute walk from the stadium. Plenty of further food and drink options are available in Middlesbrough town centre, around a mile away from the ground.