If business is your goal, the Riverside Stadium is the perfect place to wow long-standing and prospective clients, reward staff or simply entertain family and friends. Tees Business hears more from some of Middlesbrough FC’s matchday regulars…
Matchday at the Riverside Stadium is about as far away from a stuffy office environment as there is. But days of great food, a few drinks and hopefully a Boro goal or two can create the perfect setting to conduct business and form close-knit working relationships.
That’s why hundreds of local businesspeople head to the Riverside every matchday – and leave smiling, regardless of the result.
Whether it’s your very own piece of the Riverside and a unique private dining experience in one of the impressive executive boxes, the high-class Ayresome Lounge or the relaxed buzz of The Middlehaven, there’s something for everyone.
LV Shipping’s project support operations manager Jonathan Lewin is part of a small team who host the firm’s 15-seat executive box overlooking the Riverside pitch.
Jonathan says the Box is the perfect place to mingle with clients away from the workplace.
“Our business is all about building relationships and having the executive box definitely helps with that,” he says. “It gives us a chance to showcase the business in a social light while keeping it professional.
“The relationship the club staff have with us and the service they provide are both absolutely fantastic. They treat us like family and we do vice-versa, while the quality of the food is second to none. In two years of coming here, I’ve never had a bad meal.”
Such is the matchday party atmosphere in a box off the Riverside Restaurant that it has become known as party central – and it’s a label Cornerstone Business Solutions wear with pride.
Managing director Chris Petty admits a few drinks are part and parcel of the day for Cornerstone and their guests – but he says their investment in the executive box has paid for itself many times over.
“It’s not a day for pitching for business, of course – it’s about entertaining,” says Chris. “But there’s been a lot of business done in that box.
“Cornerstone is built on enjoying a first class relationship with people, so we take along a range of friends, potential clients and existing clients to get to know them better. Enjoying the football over a few drinks is a great way to do that.”
Chris is another who says the club’s willingness to bend over backwards is a winning formula.
“I’ve been to a lot of stadiums and you can’t beat the food at the Riverside – it’s absolutely first class,” he says. “And the staff are always willing to go out of their way to give us the best possible experience.
“They basically help us to wow our guests. At the end of the day, it’s memories they are helping us to create for our guests. That goes a long, long way when it comes to doing business with those people.”
In the Riverside’s North-West corner is The Middlehaven, offering guests a contemporary grazing-style menu amid stylish, relaxed surroundings.
Shaun Woods, airport manager at Durham Tees Valley Airport, hosts a table of four every matchday. He says the airport didn’t have to think twice before renewing their hospitality package for 2018-19.
“I’ve done hospitality at Liverpool and Manchester United but, in my view, Boro are head and shoulders above them,” he says. “The food is the best, while the staff are always friendly but professional.
“The airport is working hard to raise its profile and engage with more people – and the football club provides the perfect platform and relaxed environment for us to do that.”
Ben Needham, sales director for Billingham’s Glamal Engineering, is also a Middlehaven regular with his firm. “Corporate hospitality can be stuffy but The Middlehaven suits us because it’s very relaxed and informal,” he says.
“We have corporate tables at Chelsea and Manchester United too, but Middlesbrough is every bit as good – and entertaining our clients at the Riverside absolutely works for us.”
• For more details about matchday hospitality at Middlesbrough FC in 2018-19, please contact the club’s hospitality sales manager Liam McGuinness on 01642 352781 or email@example.com. Alternatively, please visit mfc.co.uk/hospitality.