This was the first game of the season for me. Well, the first Boro game anyway and with it being a rare sell-out I suspect that there will have been quite a few others in the crowd also making their seasonal debuts.
I picked up Tom, Paul and Mike and we parked near the University before calling into the Southfield Hotel for a pre-match drink. If I’d been in there before, I’ve forgotten about it. It was quiet though and we were able to get served quickly and sit down.
A couple of pints later and we were off to the Riverside. It’ll be twenty years old in the summer, but I still think of it as a new stadium. I suppose most people of my age will see it the same way. I wonder if I’ll have got used to it in twenty years time.
It’s been a good season so far. Gibson has backed Karanka to what I imagine are the absolute limits of FFP and the money looks to have been well spent. We also seem to have made very good use of the loan system, particularly with Bamford and Omeruo.
Tom and I were in the South Stand and were able to stand and sing all game. The relaxed stewarding has been one of the biggest plusses of the last couple of years for me and has contributed to the improved atmosphere, even when the ground is less than half full
The game was goalless at the break, but three second half goals secured an easy win for the Boro, keeping us up there in the play-off positions.