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Liberty Stadium
Swansea City v Arsenal
Premier League
Saturday February 16th, 2013, 3pm
By Paul R
(Arsenal fan)

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

A week before the match, tickets became available and I had a free day so I decided to go to the game. I was also quite interested in going on my first "international" club match.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?:

I took the official club coach so parking wasn't much of an issue. The journey along the M4 was good however it slowed down at the Severn Tolls (as expected due to the 6 nations between England and wales) before picking up past Cardiff. About a mile from the ground, the coach was escorted to the stadium by the police (who were so focused on that, they missed a motorcyclist driving down some steps of a footpath flyover!)
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?:

As we entered the ground (apart from one lorry driver giving us the thumbs down) we didn't have much interaction with the home fans. Because it was a club coach they drove us right into the grounds of the stadium, the away end outside the ground was basically in a pen so we couldn't walk around the stadium so I didn't get much of a chance to do much before the game other than buy a programme and then have to put my water in the coach as the stewards wouldn't let bottles in. Just to note, you do get frisked before you enter the stadium.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the stadium?

The ground appeared quite in keeping with the area and looked fairly symmetrical all the way around outside. Inside, I was placed in the upper tier which gave great views of the ground and the seating had a nice pattern. One thing I didn't like was that the electric scoreboard that was hung from the roof of the stand opposite was not really big enough to see clearly and the clock on it was much smaller and virtually hard to read from the distance so bring a watch if you're timekeeping. The roof covered all the seats so even though it was raining, the fans stayed dry.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..: 

As soon as I entered, I ordered half a pint of Carling which was decanted from another cup in front of my eyes. It was cool but didn't really taste as if it had been well kept. The concourse is small and since it serves 2,000 away fans, it does get very tight in there, especially at half-time so make sure you arrive early if you want to drink before the game. I can't say anything bad about the stewards as they were helpful and didn't do anything to hamper us, even though we stood the whole game despite the tickets telling us not to.  
The atmosphere was quite good from part of the Swansea fans however I did notice that they relied heavily on a drummer and only a quarter of the ground near the drummer where actually trying to make an atmosphere. They did do anti-English songs which wasn't too nice, so be prepared to respond with anti-Welsh songs (or Swing Low, Sweet Chariot). Arsenal fans were splendid singing all game and returning anything that Swansea fans could chant at us as well as out-singing them with our chants if they sang anything similar in tune to one of ours.
The match was very good. It was open-ended attacking football with both sides having chances and it got better as the match went on. The TV highlights didn't really do the match justice as they cut out a lot of good moments of play and shots at goal. Arsenal won 2-0 thanks to goals from Monreal and Gervinho. After the second goal went in, there was a mass exodus of Swansea fans so by the time of the final whistle, the ground was almost empty bar the Arsenal fans. 
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

It was quite easy getting away because people were able to return to the coach quickly because it was parked near the away entrance. Again we had a police escort with them stopping the traffic to let us through. I thought this was a bit over the top.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was a nice trip into a "foreign" land with it being a great day out as Arsenal came home with 3 points. I think that the stewards do go a bit over the top outside but inside they were not needed. I would be tempted to go again even if they spelt "lift" wrong in the concourses!

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