- Cardiff City FC
Division Two - Cardiff City v Huddersfield Town
Saturday, September 22nd 2001, 3pm
A mere week since I ventured
into South Wales for the first time in my life, I returned to the valleys to
visit Ninian Park, the home of Cardiff City. I'd viewed the trip with some
trepidation for some time, as I'd heard countless tales of visiting fans -
especially those from the English side of the border - getting a hard time
off the locals. But I was quietly confident that I would avoid any trouble, and
I booked on the National Express coach from London at a very
With little to see or do I went inside Ninian Park quite early, but the crowd
soon started to filter in and the atmosphere built quite nicely. I was in
the main stand, known locally as the Grandstand, where I had booked my seat for
only £13 - I could hardly complain at the relatively cheap price. The Grandstand
was rather old, and quite poorly lit, with wooden seats and pillars obstructing
the view. However, the overall view was good and I got a real appreciation
of the scale of Ninian Park - I can understand how over 61,000 saw a Welsh
international fixture inside there. At the front of the Grandstand was a
section of new, plastic seating over which a roof extension has been erected to
protect the fans from the elements. To my left was the Canton Stand, and
this appeared to be the family enclosure. I got the impression that the
stand stretches further back than the current limit, as it appeared to have been
bricked up at the rear. The roof was very low at that end. Opposite
me was the large Popular Bank, which comprised seating at the rear and a similar
sized area of terracing below it. I had thought that the most vociferous
home supporters would have populated that part of the ground, however the real
noise emanated from the Grangetown End. This has recently been covered
giving the decibel levels a boost. The end was shared by both sets of
fans, and the sight of full-scale perimeter and segregation fencing, replete
with the obligatory no-man's land and netting in between, were a real throwback
to years gone by.
The game was exciting enough and Huddersfield fully deserved their 2-1 victory. I must admit that I silently cheered the Terriers goals as a good friend of mine supports them, and well, they are English! At the final whistle I left the ground and didn't encounter any incident on my walk back into town, however a chance conversation with a fan at the bus station revealed that the visitors from Yorkshire had not been so lucky. Further comments I saw on the teletext later that week proved the tale to be true.
It was a long day out and I was glad to get home late that night. That said, Ninian Park is a gritty, well sized stadium with an extremely passionate support and that makes for an unforgettable experience. However, I did observe some obscenities and hatred aimed at the visiting section during the game - especially when the away team scored - and grown men attempting to scale 20 foot high fences to attack opposition supporters are over a decade out of touch. There does seem to be a mindless element amongst Cardiff's support, but their antics are as outdated and pathetic as their dress sense. They spoil an otherwise decent club.
an away or general football fan who has visited Ninian Park recently?
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Copyright © Lee Roberts 2001. All rights reserved.