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Cardiff City Stadium
Cardiff City v Bristol City
Saturday, February 16th 2013, 1pm
 Championship League
By Joe White
(Bristol City fan)

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

Initially was in two minds as whether to go, I used to love away days at the old Ninian Park (favourite ground after Ashton Gate) but have never felt that excited at the prospect of attending the new stadium. Pictures of it look very unappealing but this was the first season they had lifted the bubble restrictions (which had been in place for about 10 seasons) so we were always going to sell our allocation and take the right sort of passionate supporter. We sold out our allocation two weeks before and with it costing just over a tenner for a return to Cardiff from Bristol via train meant that most took this option so if nothing else it was going to be a good day out.

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

Met by police at the station who held the hoards outside until we were all together and then walked us up to join the city fans who were place inside The Great Western pub. We were eventually escorted from here to the ground so no problem in finding the way to the stadium. Walking there we were stopping and starting as some city fans kept trying to break the escort - the police didn't seem that organised and I did think that at some point things could have got out of hand due to numbers but it went off okay.

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

By the time we got to the Great Western pub there were so many city fans inside that the doormen  they weren't really allowing many more in. Couple hundred stood outside drinking and singing and exchanging banter with the odd Cardiff fan who passed nearby. Eventually a large group tried to enter and it was too much for the doormen who were overwhelmed. Everyone outside (including us) followed and we were soon in the pub. The atmosphere inside was great, with lots of singing, but then a smoke bomb got set off  and they stopped serving. Everyone finished their drink and joined the escort outside.

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

From the outside the stadium I thought "Legoland", boring, unexciting and typical of many new grounds. The away end was on one corner of the bowl which encompassed the whole stadium. One of the side stands had a small upper tier which was the grounds only redeeming feature. Behind the stands there were high plastic sheets and what seemed like a lot of space between that and the outer part of the stadium - this looked odd and further enhanced the soulless feel.

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

Lost 2-1 to a better team. We had few chances on goal and we equalised from an embarrassing own goal. Atmosphere was okay from our end, most stood and we brought our surfer flag of Scott Murray's iconic goal celebration against Cardiff in the 2001 play off semi at Ninian. We were loud at the start but quiet for large parts after their second went in. To our right they had what appeared to be a couple of large blocks all standing, were quite quiet until the end and a shadow of their former selves at the old ground. Behind their goal they had many standing again and were heard occasionally; overall very disappointing considering they were top of the league and the ground did not feel intimidating in the slightest.

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

Again a large escort for those travelling back by train. Some scuffles with the police as sections tried to break through what one unhappy fan described as the Berlin wall. There was the odd scuffle on the way back with a few coins being thrown in our direction from some of the pubs that were passed - A group pf ten or so Cardiff fans ran out at the escort from a side road but were quickly chased off by two police horses.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Summary, poor result and beaten by a better team. Cannot see myself returning (may not be playing them for a while anyway with us likely to get relegated and them almost certainly getting promoted). The Cardiff as I have known them no longer exist. Soulless stadium, more Malaysian flags than Welsh ones inside the ground, playing in red (still can't believe this) - If this is the price I would have to pay for my team to reach the Premier League I would kindly opt out.

Attendance: "25, 586" (although with the amount of empty seats it seemed less - 2,088 Bristol City fans)

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