|Leeds United v Stoke City|
Sunday, 5th August 2018 Kick-off 16:30
Monday, 25th Sep 2017 21:46 by Tim Whelan
Our visit to Cardiff City is tomorrow night with a 7.45pm kick-off, and once again we are live on Sky. And still there are folk who will tell you we’re not famous any more.
In previous years the official site have given us the following directions (courtesy of the local police) , so that we can drive the long way round and avoid going through Cardiff city centre.
“Leave the M4 at junction 33, and take first exit off roundabout on to A4232, continue for 6.1 miles. Take second exit off A4232 (junction has Brown football signage) on to B4267 Slip Road and (at the roundabout).Follow signs and road markings for industrial estate. Take 2nd available exit off roundabout on to Hadfield Road. Take 3rd left in to Bessemer Road.
Travel to the end of the road turn left in to Sloper Road and then turn Left in to Away supporters' car park (Zone F) which is situated on the South footprint of the stadium has the ability to routinely hold 24 coaches and 133 cars.” The cost of this car park the “preferred option of South Wales Police” is a most reasonable £8 per Car, but Coaches are free.
It might be tempting to avoid the charge and park in the nearby retail park instead, but that is limited to a 90 minute stay, with the regulations strictly enforced on matchdays by an army of traffic wardens. Not sure if they are more relaxed for an evening game. Alternatively, you can park at the Gol Centre on Lawrenny Avenue (see below), which costs only £5, and that can be redeemed at the bar inside the Centre.
The nearest railway station is Ninian Park Halt, which is only a five minute walk from the stadium. This station is served by local trains to Radyr, which leave Cardiff Central at 06 and 36 minutes past the hour. Coming back there are trains leaving Ninian Park at 21.54, 22.04 and 22.15, which looks like an enhanced matchday service, as the normal frequency on this line is hourly in the evening. It will of course be too late to get a train back to Leeds after the game.
If you want to want to walk from the main Cardiff Central station it will take around 25 minutes. You turn left outside the stadium, passing the Millennium Stadium and crossing the river. You just continue straight on down Ninian Park Road for around a mile and at the end turn left into Leckwith Road. You’ll see the stadium as soon as you’ve come under the railway bridge.
Most of the pubs close to the stadium are best avoided, but one place you could try is the ‘Gol centre’ off Leckwith Road, between the stadium and the railway bridge I’ve mentioned above. Otherwise, it will be best to do your drinking in the city centre. If you want to get some reasonably priced food before you get to the stadium there are a couple of takeaways along the Ninian Park road (see the walking directions from Cardiff Central above).
Cardiff decided a few years back that ramshackle old Ninian Park could never be brought up to the standards demanded by the Taylor report, and decided to build the new Cardiff City Stadium on a site only a quarter of a mile away. As a certain Peter Ridsdale was Cardiff chairman at the time it was constructed it’s no surprise that the project ran way over budget and ended up costing them a total of £48million. This added considerably to Cardiff’s financial problems and they had to survive a winding up order before Ridsdale departed to inflict his peculiar brand of financial ‘advice’ onto the good citizens of first Plymouth and then Preston.
The new stadium opened at the start of the 2010/11 season, and it has a capacity of 33,300. Like most of the other identikit new stadia around the country it offers excellent facilities and a good view of the pitch, but looks rather bland and functional. The concourses are spacious and they usually serve alcohol, though it remains to be seen whether they will do so in the away end during our visit. The food kiosks serve the usual football scoff, including pies, cheeseburgers, hot dogs and vastly overpriced chips.
Away fans are allocated one corner of the stadium, between the Ninian & Grange stands. Originally we got a less than generous allocation of 2100, but Leeds managed to negotiate an additional 574 tickets. This was a bit of a risk, as we would have had to pay for the extra whether they were sold or not, but our fans have responded to the club’s pleas to buy the lot. Inevitably it’s a ‘Gold Category’ fixture, so tickets cost £24 for adults and £20 for senior citizens, with young adults at £15 and £12 for under 16's.
And it’s possible this game to see an attendance record for the new stadium, with Cardiff’s official site all excited after they had sold 25,000 tickets by this afternoon, with the ticket office being open till 6.30 this evening and early tomorrow morning. Currently the highest crowd at the City stadium is the 28,680 who saw them play Derby in April 2016, and that was due to a special offer.
The stadium has been built in such a way that it can be easily further expanded, by adding additional blocks of seating to both ends of the stadium, taking the capacity up to around 38,000. That would probably involve Cardiff getting back into the Premiership, but you never know, that could happen. Dare we hope that any such scheme would lead to more tickets being given to away fans?
Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com. But the various sarcastic comments that crept into this article were all my own work.
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