Liberty Stadium - Swansea City
V Bristol City League One
September 10th 2005, 3pm
By Isaac Joy
1. Why you were
looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be)
It's nice to visit a new stadium and from the pictures I'd seen, I was impressed and keen to get a closer look. Plus there was a little bit of spice added to the game as Swansea v Bristol City games are often regarded as 'derbies'. I don't get to many away games so I was particularly looking forward to this one.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking
All Bristol City fans were forced to travel to the game by official club coach, complete with out very own security guard! Match tickets were only handed out to us on the coach, after we had crossed the Severn Bridge and we had been met an extremely large amount of police vehicles who were escorting us to the stadium. I appreciate that there is a history of trouble between these two clubs but I couldn't help but think that this was perhaps taking things a step too far. I did however learn that the same exercise would be carried out at the return fixture.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
On arrival at 13:30, the coaches dropped us directly outside the away end and there were more policemen separating us from the Swansea fans (who had turned up in force to greet us), than I had ever seen before. We were instructed to enter the stadium immediately and that under no circumstance would we be allowed to wander off. I needed a badge and so I escorted 2 elderly ladies who were given special permission to visit the club shop so long as we come straight back. The queue to get into the club shop was not unlike one you would expect at the newest ride at Alton Towers and this was made worse by the heavy rain.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground.
The stadium looked impressive from a distance and the steep nature of the main road offered a great aerial view. Inside the seated area's, I found the leg room as good as any I have experienced and there was a fantastic view from the away end. Apart from the white seats and 'SWANSEA' written across every stand, you could really be in any one of the stadiums build in the last 10 years or so although I certainly wasn't complaining as it certainly beats the wooden benches of Ashton Gate!
My main complaint would have to be the concourses though. Is it too much to ask to add a lick of paint to the breeze blocks and concrete?
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
The first half performance was good from both sides and we were unlucky to concede a goal on the stroke of half time to go 1-0 at the break but then in the second half I witnessed the worst performance from a Bristol City side since 1982 as we conceded further 6 goals before grabbing a late consolation goal. The 700 or so Bristol City fans who made the trip were left numb and wondering what had hit us. Some tried to start a chant of 'Tinnion Out' but most didn't have the strength.
Brian Tinnion did depart as manager straight after the game though and he stayed sat in the dugout for half an hour after the final whistle, a lonely figure with his head in his hands. It was an image I will never forget and I hope that fans will never forget the 11 years of service he game us as a player which is almost unheard of these days.
The stewarding was actually extremely good. I wasn't expecting that after the madness of what we had experienced outside the ground. I got chatting to a particularly attractive female steward who was at university in Swansea and was from Bristol of all places! Fans were free to sit or stand although perhaps this was because our supporters found it too difficult to cause any actual trouble or indeed move due to shock of what they were seeing on the field! The pies were average and the toilets spacious although again, the walls were much too grey!
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game
700 sad souls from Bristol stepped back onto the coach and made our way out of the stadium to rapturous applause from the Swansea faithful who were obviously delighted with the display. I can't remember much about the journey home. I was still numb.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out
The only positive I can take from the day was that I am now one ground closer to the 92 and it means I never have to go again. I didn't however see any trouble whatsoever and the banter was no different than if the scoreline was reversed.
All fans who went to the game from Bristol did receive a £10 voucher to use on future away travel coaches so that was a nice, unexpected gift. The only problem is that I don't know if I have the energy to go through that again!
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