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Cardiff City Stadium
Cardiff City v
Peterborough United
Championship League
Saturday, December 15th 2012, 3pm
James Prentice

(Doing the 92)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

I am almost 70 grounds through the 92 and, with mainly lengthy trips up ahead of me, I wanted to get a real long-distance trip out of the way. So I booked some reasonably-priced rail tickets to Cardiff. I was interested to see whether Cardiff’s new home was just another bland bowl of a stadium or whether they had managed to fashion their new home into something original and interesting. Cardiff is a city I really like and the trip also offered the chance to go on a tour of the magnificent Millennium Stadium.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

My train got into Cardiff Central at around 11.20am and I went for a look around the city centre before making my way over to the Millennium Stadium. I had been to the stadium for a game some years ago and it was every bit as impressive as I remembered it, although this time I got to do the ‘behind the scenes’ tour. At only £8.50 for a tour that lasts around 70 minutes, I would recommend this to anyone visiting the city with a bit of time on their hands.

After my tour, I walked to the Cardiff City Stadium rather than getting a train to the Ninian Park station as this only took around 20 minutes. The ground is easy to find and I used directions taken from this website.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

After leaving the Millennium Stadium I didn’t quite have time even for a swift pint so I made my way to the ground and decided I would eat after the game. There was a reasonable police presence, although even though I was due to sit with the home fans I did notice a few ‘undesirables’ amongst Cardiff’s support, so away fans travelling by public transport may want to stick together and keep colours/badges covered.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The ground it situated on the edge of a park and looks quite striking at first glance. Fans enter via blocks of automated turnstiles situated around the outside of the ground rather than the occasional turnstiles at older stadia, which led to lengthy queues. There were a couple of nice touches, such as the old gates from Ninian Park and a plaque commemorating the death of Jock Stein, which have been brought from the old ground to preserve some history and lend some originality. The concourses are pretty spacious and the inside of the ground is certainly less bland than some newer homes of football. The stadium is enclosed so the atmosphere is good and the view from my seat behind the goal in the Canton End was excellent.

Away fans are situated at the other end in a corner, although allocations can be increased depending on the number of visitors. One thing I like about the stadium is that the stands have retained names of those at Ninian Park, such as the Grandstand and the home stronghold of the Grange End. Ironically though, the Grange End seems to be the family area whereas the fans in the Canton seemed slightly ‘earthier’ and stood for the entire game!

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc...

The atmosphere in this top versus bottom clash threatened to burst into life when Cardiff scored early on, but the effort was ruled out. Peterborough took heart from this and went ahead with a well-taken free-kick. They took this lead into the second half after Cardiff had laboured without managing to create many chances. I had expected the home side to set about Peterborough after the interval but inexplicably the visitors made it 2-0 early via a clever counter attack.

The rest of the game saw the pendulum swing between Cardiff putting pressure on their visitors before Posh broke up the field. Cardiff got a goal back late on but it was Peterborough that took the spoils from what had looked like a home banker. Whilst the atmosphere was disappointing, the facilities were quite good and the food and beer on offer were excellent. All of the outlets had proper queuing systems in place and there were separate beer areas from which fans can even buy tokens in advance to save having to wait longer to purchase their favourite tipple.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

I made the simple walk back to the station as soon as the final whistle sounded and was surrounded by lots of disappointed Cardiff fans, although a throng of supporters didn’t let it get to them for too long, beginning a chant of ‘We hate Jacks', 'We hate Jacks’ (directed at rivals Swansea) five minutes after leaving the stadium. I arrived back at the station after going via an off licence to grab a couple of cans in hand to numb the pain of a long journey home back to Lincoln.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was great – a tour around the Millennium Stadium and another one of ‘the 92’ ticked off my list, I went home a very happy boy. Cardiff’s new home is surely a more relaxed day out than the daunting Ninian Park, but I would exercise caution when going to support your side just in case you are rumbled by some of the ‘undesirable minority’. Cardiff is a great city, with fantastic nightlife and some amazing architecture, so if I go again I think I will make sure I make a weekend of it.

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