Built in only 32 weeks, the Riverside Stadium was the first stadium designed and constructed to comply with the Taylor Report.
Opened on August 26 1995, the capacity was amended to 34,988 in June 2008 and 34,742 in summer 2013. The stadium represents a proud and bold statement of Middlesbrough Football Club's progressive thinking as well as its vision for the future.
Along with the Transporter and Newport bridges, the Riverside Stadium has become one of the landmarks of the Middlesbrough skyline, towering over the Tees, east of the city centre.
The Story Behind The Stadium
Long before work began on the magnificent stadium, Boro officials had been considering their options. Hemmed in by terraced housing, it was obvious that the only way to expand Ayresome Park was by building upwards, but the fact was that to have any hope of getting planning permission, the club would have to limit itself to a 20,000 capacity.
Former chairman Colin Henderson believed redeveloping Ayresome Park could work but new chairman Steve Gibson, director George Cooke and chief executive Keith Lamb disagreed.
They decided to look for a new home and discussions were opened with Middlesbrough Council. Teesside Development Corporation offered the club the Middlehaven site and The Miller Partnership put together the best design of the 14 that were tendered. Contractors Taylor Woodrow and engineers Ove Arup were then brought in to begin work.
When it opened its doors for the start of the 1995-96 season, it was the biggest new football stadium to be built since the war and the first stadium in the country to be built in line with the Taylor Report.
Its name - chosen by the fans themselves - incorporated the name of the club's new sponsors - The Cellnet Riverside Stadium.
The first ever goal to be scored there was a Craig Hignett effort in Boro's 2-0 win over old rivals Chelsea.
Another 5,000 seats were added in the summer of 1998 with the £5m corner extensions to the West Stand and the club has since received outline planning permission to add another 7,000 seats if required.
Former sponsor BT Cellnet was dropped from the stadium's name for the start of the 2002-03 season.
Further developments have included statues of Boro and England legends Wilf Mannion and George Hardwick and the erection of the former Ayresome Park gates outside the main entrance.
The Boro Brick Road leading from the gates allow supporters to be part of the stadium and form a popular meeting place before matches.
As well as hosting famous Boro matches such as the 2006 UEFA Cup comebacks against Basel and Steaua Bucharest, the stadium has hosted international games at various levels including England’s 2-1 European Championship qualifier win over Slovakia in 2003 and Team GB’s historic London Olympic games against Brazil (men’s team) and Sweden (women’s team) in 2012.
The Riverside was reconfigured ahead of the 2013/14 season to reflect some of the different groups who make up the club’s fans.
The South Stand was returned to Boro supporters and became the home of members of the noisy Red Faction supporters, while were away supporters moved to the East Stand.
A new Twe12th Man fans’ bar was opened in the North Stand, allowing fans to stay behind after games to enjoy live music or watch televised matches.The biggest changes came in the East Stand, where our Generation Red Family Zone set the standard for the very best designated area for young football supporters.
The developments and innovations have continued apace at the stadium and in 2015, the Riverside became the first stadium in the UK to have 360 degree LED perimeter boards, both pitch and crowd facing.
Boro won promotion to the Premier League in May 2016, and a multi-million pound project commenced on ensuring the stadium complied with new top-flight regulations.
The work undertaken included the re-location of the TV Gantry, to the East Stand, the construction of two new TV studios in the South East Corner, a new OB compound and access tower, new media facilities on the ground floor of the West Stand, plus other internal renovations.
The Club has also worked on improving facilities for disabled supporters at the Riverside Stadium in accordance with the Accessible Stadia Criteria, and in March 2017 a new sensory room was opened in the East Stand.