Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Wednesday January 6 2010
Cardiff City Stadium - Cardiff City
A new year a new ground. Cardiff away was a once only visit for most fans, unless it was the Millenium Stadium, but Ninian Park was a horrible place to go. Not a million miles away, but hopefully light years away in the away day experience, the Cardiff City Stadium is a first for visiting fans this season.
Cardiff City Stadium is a 26,828 all-seated ground in the Leckwith area of the city. Cardiff moved the short distance from Ninian Park their previous home for 99 years.
Sam Hammam muted a move as long ago as 2002, however finances dictated that Peter Risdale brought the plan to fruition after planning permission and monetry problems were sorted in 2006. The stadium cost £48million to build.
Cardiff officially opened up their new home on the 22nd July 2009 with a draw against Celtic, the stadium also hosts the home matches of the Cardiff Blues rugby union team until 2029.
After the Millennium Stadium, it is the second largest stadium in Cardiff and in Wales.
The stadium is part of the Leckwith development, which also includes the Cardiff International Sports Stadium.
All four stands are of the same height and the stadium is completely enclosed with all four corners having spectator seating.
Three sides of the stadium are identical, all being single tiered. The roofs above these stands are situated quite high above the seating areas, with a large back wall, part of which contains perspex panels to provide more light to the playing surface.
The Grandstand is a little different, having a second tier of seating that overlaps the back of the lower tier. In this area at the rear of the lower section there is a row of executive boxes. Whilst at the back of the second tier there is visible a glassed frontage to an area used for corporate entertainment.
The team dug outs are located at the front of this stand. There is a medium sized video screen in corner of the stadium between the Ninian & Grange Stands and this is where we will be sat, to the right of 1 goal. Room for 1800 here, I'm expecting about 1000 to knock this ground off the list.
There's a decent view, large concourses and loos and all the usual trappings you expect from new grounds nowadays.
Above each end is a small digital clock - scanlite would be rubbing their hands.
Ninian Park was an intimidating place to visit, so far the new stadium carries a lot less of a threat. No man's land either side of the away fans inside the ground, they have adopted the Hull/Millwall fenced off approach outside the away end too.
How to get there
M55 M6 South. At J11 bear left - M5 signposted 'South West'. At J8 join the M5. At J8 of the M5 join the M50. Leave the M50 at J4 and join the A40. After 18 miles, at Coldra roundabout take the 5th exit, then join the M4 motorway. To avoid driving through the centre of Cardiff, leave the M4 at junction 33 and take the A4232 towards Cardiff/Barry. Keep on the A4232 towards Cardiff and then leave the dual carriageway at the B4267 exit. At the end of the slip road, turn left at the roundabout, signposted 'Cardiff International Athletics Stadium'. The ground is situated a short distance down this road on the right. If you pass the ground on your right and then turn right at the next lights (about 250m) and proceed up this road for about 300m, you will see HSS Hire (plant hire) on your right. Turn right in front of this and it leads you into a fenced off area adjacent to Turnstile 7 (the away entrance). You can go straight into the ground without leaving this area.
Sat navvers - CF11 8AZ
For the Virgin lovers amongst us - The nearest train station is Ninian Park Halt, which is only a five minute walk from the stadium. This station is on a local line (city line-direction Radyr) which is served by trains from Cardiff Central, which run every thirty minutes on Saturday afternoons. On leaving Ninian Park Halt station proceed along Leckwith Road and you will see the new stadium over on your left. Alternatively if you are away fan turn left into Sloper Rd and then turn right into the protected compound at HSS Plant Hire, which leads to the away turnstiles.
Cardiff Central is around a 25 minute walk. As you come out of the entrance to the station, bear left and at the bottom of the station approach road, turn left. Continue straight on into Ninian Park Road, for around a mile passing the Millennium Stadium on your right. At the end of Ninian Park Road turn left and then left into Leckwith Road. You will then shortly be able to see the stadium over on your left (the away turnstiles are on the left hand side of the stadium, as you view it from here).
Where to drink
The only identified pub for away fans is the Lansdowne Hotel, on Beda Road, in the Canton area of Cardiff. It`s a 15-minute walk from the ground.
As with any visit to Cardiff the city centre has an array of welcoming pubs.
Ale is on sale within the ground.
Stewards + Plod
Good reports from the new place with stewards not asking fans to sit down, and on every visit to Wales I've found the Heddlu a lot more accommodating then the usual OB.
Fear Factor Rating - 5. Be wary away from the ground.
Last week's defeat at the hands of Ipswich has left the bones bare at the back, Holloway should have dipped in to the market before Saturday and it's a real test of our metal on how we react - on the plus side last time we lost to Ipswich we went to Boro and turned on a fantastic display.
Here's hoping the trip to the valleys produces a similar result.
Date:Wednesday January 6 2010
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