An open letter to Middlesbrough Football Club Official Direct Store

After visiting the Middlesbrough Football Club site and MFC Official Direct shop ( today, I was left embarrassed as a Boro fan at the state of both web sites. Below are open letters which I hope representatives of both will see and respond to.

Dear MFC Official Direct

When seeing an advert for the 30% off sale and Boro replica kits for only £15 I was very happy and ran straight over to the store to get myself a replica home kit.

However the experience I had left me shocked, disappointed and embarrassed. Now let me say that I am a Boro fan and a front end developer (so I can understand when things aren’t perfect), but still feel the need to expose the pitfalls of this site in public.

My first issue was when I tried to update my delivery address, having moved jobs and so I couldn’t have the parcel delivered to my old place of work. However it appears I am not allowed to move companies, the company name could not be edited. ANYWHERE. Not on that form, not on my account page, not on mange addresses through my account page, nowhere. The company isn’t even called Gyro International anymore!

Following that annoyance, I thought “Fine, I’ll just add a new address. But then I couldn’t add a company name to go with that, and being in a shared building with many other companies and nowhere to add a company name and few form fields for address I thought I would have it delivered home.

Delivery details on MFC Official Direct Store

I thought that would be fine, but alas no. Following selection of delivery type in step 2 I was thrown to the confirm order page. Step 4. Hold on. That’s missed step 3, and I haven’t entered my payment details yet? But I’m on the last step? Oh well. I guess this really is a good shop! That was confirmed by a nice page telling my my order has been successfully placed! Excellent, I don’t have to pay it seems. Maybe now Mido is back he is funding a shirt giveaway to try and make someone love him!

Alas no, after a second or two I was delivered and Sage Pay (formerly Protx) payment page. Now this possibly isn’t MFC Official Direct’s fault, however it is still part of a flawed process. And anyone that spends £12.7m on Alfonso Alves must have some cash somewhere to invest in a seamless checkout process. Or at least one that allows the checkout page to be on brand, not hideous and at least not be included as step 5 of 4.

The hideous Sage Pay checkout screen.

So after all that and finally getting my payment details in, I notice that Sage Pay have thankfully printed my delivery address so I know its right:

Flat E

(They printed my postcode too, but that’s private!)

Now I know the postcode will probably mean that as a delivery address might just make it, and maybe the full address has been stored, but why print only part of the address. Thinking about it, there are quite a few flats in my area so Flat E, Putney might not make it. My address is a required 2 lines before the town and postcode so why not just show me the details so I don’t think you’ve lost half my address along the way. Same goes for invoice address. Just show it all or people (including myself) might not be confident you have managed to pass the correct delivery information and that we may never see our goods, many of which are quite expensive on the MFC Official Direct store.

Anyway, after this traumatic experience it’ll be a while before I use the MFC Official Direct store again, however I also have some gripes with the Middlesbrough Football Club website itself, so this probably isn’t the last you’ll hear from me. Thankfully however, at least the agency that built the site are linked to in the footer, so it can act as a reminder to never, ever recommend Black Magic Digital of Glasgow as a digital agency. They apparently missed out on the user experience chapter of every book they ever picked up.


Matt Bee

Boro Fan and Front End Developer

Pyrenees training 2009

The past four days have been awesome, since I have been cycle/triathlon training with Richard from work, Gaunty who we swim with and his mate Nick.

The Pyrenees are beautiful and while we knew we were in for a tough time with a few big hills, no one really expected to be staying at the bottom of a hors catégorie climb in Col du Tourmalet. Round the corner was the Col d’Aspin too which has featuredin Le Tour de France 66 times. So the climbing was awesome, tough, beautiful, painful, challenging, sweaty and required a lot of determination. Continue reading “Pyrenees training 2009”


After Sunday’s game was cancelled due to Hoxton not getting a team out, Hospital Tavern are officially promoted after being awarded the points.

So I will be playing Second Division football next year in the Hackney and Leyton Football League!

Hoxton aren’t happy as they were expecting a re-arranged game, but the league disagreed, am sure Maynell are very disappointed – we would have had to play Maynell in a play off for promotion if we drew and they would have been promoted if we lost – but they’ll get over it! We would have beaten Hoxton anyway!

At least we have something to celebrate at the end of season drinks! Should be a good night!

New clothes…

This week I have mostly been buying clothes! On Friday another piece of my triathlon and open water swimming equipment arrived, a Sola wetsuit! It’s a good fit and bloody warm! I managed to resist putting it on and going for a cold bath to see if it works! The first open water swimming session should be on the 11th May, at Dorney Lake (or Heron lake, not quite sure yet!) followed by a Windsor bike ride with the Viceroys. Hopefully I can still remember how to swim quickly and along with my cycling they can make up for me not being a great runner. Walking funny has meant I had to invest in a £90 pair of trainers for that part, but worth it if I’m not in agony afterwards!

Sola Fusion 3mm wetsuit

Tomorrow was supposed to be the day that Hospital Tavern were promoted by beating Hoxton Foxes, having lost the title to FC Highstone, but the opposition can’t get a team. It means on Tuesday we will either be awarded the points by the league or have to play again. I hope it is the first because otherwise it will eat into my training schedule, which I would prefer not to happen. However the jubilation of being promoted by actual beating Hoxton and the celebrations afterwards would be great!!

Bank holiday weekend has not been enjoyable, having a terrible hangover all day (really considering less drinking…) today (Saturday) and planning on working on Monday to meet a deadline for SportsAid.

Speaking of which, I better try and get the DNS and domain sorted for that!

Proud! Yet disappointed…

Hello magazine. That is the reason I have just felt a moment of pride for where I work and what I do. Yes I enjoy doing my work, love where I work and when the two combine and a website where I did all the front end and had some influence in the functionality and design (Griff, as normal, was awesome) is a great feeling. Although it would have been nice if it hadn’t taken me getting all the way back to Durham to mention possibly being in Hello magazine, only to find out my mother has a copy with a Gyro ad in it, and I didn’t even know for sure we were in! It was Hello for God’s sake. I have had emails saying we are on fecking petrol pump, so tell us properly when my work shall be in one of the best sellers!! Apart from that rant I am quite proud that a website I built the front end for has been featured in Hello magazine (even without sign off, eh Barnaby!!). I also asked for 4 weeks, not the 2 and a bit I got (with luck) so well done me on getting the job done anyway, God knows I don’t have time to go back and improve it! Unfortunately.

Other news includes that CodeIgnitor is awesome, still. TotSocks are gonna be big, hopefully.

Stephen Fry and Boris Johnson are my heroes and I wish I could be either of them!!

I have also found that Hot Shots: Part Deux has ruined any possible chance of me enjoying either Rambo 2 or 3 without giggling at the slightest hint of a Charlie Sheen joke. Or any other joke in that film, to be fair!!

And finally, in the top of Division 3 (Hackney and Leyton league) clash, Hospital Tavern (my current team) overcame the favourites for the league Highstone FC in a 3-2 victory. What a great result, and it must mean that we can go on to challenge for both the league and the last remaining cup. Although if being picked up on one error in that game means I get dropped for the quarter final cup game, I will be so disappointed, I’m not sure I could handle it!! Here’s to the slim chance of us winning the league!!