Wales To Return To Liberty?
Tuesday, 12th Feb 2008 07:05
Welsh stars admit that internationals could soon return to the Liberty Stadium
The Western Mail have reported that whilst both Azerbaijan and Liechenstein are set for a Millennium Stadium game later this year, next year's games against Finland, Germany and Russia have not yet got confirmed venues. And whilst it seems almost impossible that the visit of the Germans could be switched away from the capital there is every chance that at least one of the other two games could move down the M4 to Swansea.
Former Swans boss John Toshack has already called for the move and believes a full smaller venue would be more advantageous to his side than a half full Millennium as has been the case in some recent qualifiers. Just last week, Wales cruised past Norway 3-0 at Wrexham in a friendly, something that will have increased the thoughts that it is the right thing to do.
Finland, Germany and Russia all won on their last visits to the Millennium Stadium and there is also a belief that a smaller ground may prevent the teams playing the way that they wish to.
Simon Davies told the Western Mail “Everyone enjoys playing at Wrexham, as we showed in beating Norway 3-0 there last week.
“It was a cold, very wet night, but we always seem to get really good support in the north. There were only 7,000 at the ground, but the fans were vocal, got behind us and it had the vibe of a sell-out.
“The manager has told us that some of the qualifiers may be staged at places like Swansea and Wrexham to give us full houses and a good atmosphere and I think that’s an excellent idea.
“Sometimes it is difficult for us to play well at the Millennium Stadium when it is not full. It can be a funny atmosphere and we would like to play more games at places like Wrexham.
“If we can pack out a small ground, it’ll improve the atmosphere with Welsh fans right behind us.”
Whilst the in-form Jason Koumas added
“I know the FAW are looking at moving games away from the Millennium Stadium and I hope it comes off.
“We should play qualifying matches at Wrexham, Swansea and Ninian Park. They would be full houses and that would really help us because the Welsh fans can be our 12th man.
“For a small football country like Wales, it would be a massive advantage, especially playing top sides like Germany and Russia with crucial points at stake.
“Teams like that turn up at the Millennium Stadium and just think to themselves, ‘We fancy this’. But would they fancy playing at The Racecourse, Liberty Stadium or Ninian Park?
“I don’t think they would. I’m convinced that we’d have a better chance of qualifying if we played our home qualifiers at the smaller grounds.
“We only had 7,000 for the Norway match, but the atmosphere was fantastic and you could see how the players were lifted by it.
“I think I speak for every player in the squad when I say it’s better to play in front of a full house at Wrexham or Swansea, than a half empty Millennium.
“There was a big difference on Wednesday in terms of the atmosphere compared to the last few matches we have played at the Millennium Stadium.”
Wales are contractually obliged to play three games a year at the Millennium but there is nothing that states these should be full international fixtures.
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