Mowbray more interested in hardcore Middlesbrough supporters than stayaway fans (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Mowbray more interested in hardcore Middlesbrough supporters than stayaway fans
MIDDLESBROUGH announced another ticket initiative in a bid to boost ailing attendances yesterday, but Tony Mowbray would rather focus his attentions on the supporters who come rather than attempting to re-engender the ones who do not.
Boro’s 1-1 draw against Huddersfield Town was witnessed by the lowest league attendance in the history of the Riverside Stadium with just 12,793 trooping through the turnstiles.
The club have announced a half-price ticket deal for the televised match against Doncaster Rovers on October 25, after a similar match against Sheffield Wednesday last season brought more than 28,000 into the ground.
Mowbray has always been supportive of any offers to bring more supporters into the ground, but the Boro manager yesterday insisted his focus was on the hardcore of support who turn up every week.
“I’m more interested in the fans who are there, to be honest,” said Mowbray. “The people who come to the Riverside at the moment are hopefully seeing entertainment, they want their team to win, we all want to win, and the team is coming along fine.
“The people at the Riverside at the moment are the true Boro fans, the ones who will be there through thick and thin. Many Boro fans have grown up on Juninho and Ravanelli, Yakubu and Jimmy Floyd, Merson and Gascoigne in the Premier League. Those days aren’t there any more.
“You’re either a fan of those individuals or you’re a fan of the football team, and the town. Me as an individual would be supporting Boro through thick and thin, and 12,500 on Tuesday night hopefully keep on supporting, and the good times won’t be too far away.”
After a disappointing performance in London on Saturday at Queens Park Rangers, Boro were much improved against the Terriers in midweek and Mowbray feels that the table - where they sit 19th - does not currently give much of an insight of how Boro’s games have been going recently.
“It’s still early season. I think three wins and you’ll be on the verge of the play-offs.” said Mowbray, whose side face Yeovil Town at the Riverside Stadium tomorrow. “Everybody beats everybody. There were 14 points between relegation and the play-offs last year, is it going to be different this year?
“The table can create a false illusion of where you sit yet was it any better finishing seventh than 17th last year, probably not. It’s a tight division. At this moment, we’re disappointed to have drawn six out of the ten games this season, if we’d have won them we’d be top of the league, if we’d have lost them we’d have been in the bottom three. Let’s wait and see and keep going.”
Failure to win in their last eight games has brought pressure on Mowbray, not least from the supporters, but from inside the club as the manager has previously suggested. However, the manager is confident the tide will turn his way as the season progresses.
“If you’d have talked to any of the ten managers we’ve played against this season, they’d tell you we probably were one of the better teams they’d played,” claimed Mowbray.
“We feel we should have had a lot more points, we’ve dominated nearly every match, QPR was the one team we felt had the quality to beat us. People keep throwing all kinds of stats at me about how many wins in how many games, yet I can say one shot on target against us on Tuesday, 20 shots, eight on target for us, we draw 1-1.
“It’ll even itself out, I’m sure. It’ll balance itself off, we’ll start getting what we deserve, as we move forward.
“If we were really struggling, and every game was a real chore, and we weren’t having shots, we never felt as if we could score, then we know it’s going to be a long, hard season.
“I’ve been in Boro teams in the 1980s when you go 1-0 down and there’s not a cat in hell’s chance of winning a game, let alone drawing because you’re not scoring. That’s obviously not the case here. We can score goals, we give teams lots of problems, we have lots of shots, one of these days it will turn for us, then we’ll push on, then let’s see how the league looks.
“If I didn’t enjoy the team, I’d be worried. Are we concerned? Yes, because we want a lot more points, we can’t disguise that. You can’t disguise the stats. The team are performing at a decent level and if we can keep producing that, I’m sure we’ll win enough games to have a good season. We play in a league where every team is extremely honest, extremely hard-working, extremely organised, and nobody gives you any points.”
Tickets for the Doncaster Rovers game, which has been billed the ‘Spirit of Teesside’ game, will be priced at £12 for adults and £7 for concessions in the first price promotion of the 2013-14 campaign.
Retired workers from the key steel, chemicals and shipbuilding industries will join representatives of a wide range of organisations from across the area as guests in the Middlehaven Suite, which will be renamed The Spirit of Teesside Suite for the night. In addition, match tickets will be given to apprentices from Middlesbrough-based TTE Technical Training Group – a charitable organisation that supports some 600 youngsters through apprenticeships each year.
“Teesside is renowned throughout the world for the quality of its manufacturing and for its exceptionally dedicated and skilled workforce, many of whom travel far and wide to find jobs to enable them to provide for their families,” said Boro Chief Executive Neil Bausor.
“Sydney Harbour Bridge is just one of many iconic structures throughout the globe that is stamped with the words ‘Dorman Long and Co Limited, Middlesbrough, England’ and thanks to organisations such as TTE, that proud manufacturing tradition continues today.
“We all know that here are many reasons that make Teesside a special place to work and live. The area sometimes makes the headlines for the wrong reasons but we believe this is a great opportunity to celebrate all that is good about Teesside and its people, in front of a national TV audience. “Everyone at MFC is hopeful that this will be a very special evening and we hope our supporters will give it their backing.”
The Spirit of Teesside theme is inspired by the words of Boro chairman Steve Gibson, who said: "The spirit of Teesside is in its people and we want to harness that spirit to inspire the team in the way we all know it can.”