amazing atmosphere that day in 2002 when we beat Leeds. Ninian Park has
been like a second home to me for most of my life, no one will take my
memories away, I will cherish them all my life but now it's time to move
Earlier in the day I'd been taken on a tour of the new stadium across the
road at Leckwith. I've watched the building grow from a few pieces of steel
to the near finished article. Each time I drive by thinking "is that really
going to be our new stadium?" Well after standing in the middle of the patch
of mud that will become the pitch I can confirm that yes it's true. We
really are that close to having the new ground.
I've had questions to ask. Reservations about certain things. Looking from
the outside I wondered if it was big enough. Surely it should be taller,
more imposing. Your opinions change though when you walk into the arena.
Firstly the space under the stands is vast. The concourse areas that will
contain the bars, food kiosks and toilets are huge. There'll be no freezing
behind the Bob Bank queing for a pint. It's all enclosed and with plans to
have HD ready TV's offering sports coverage and possibly even Cardiff City
TV then the pre match experience will be something that all City fans will
Just stepping back slightly to get into the stadium you'll need to go
through the new full size turnstiles. The plan ultimately is for a
ticketless and possibly even cashless stadium. A new season ticket will be a
card that will be swiped to gain entry. Credits for the food and drink
outlets can be put onto the card. Cup games added with just one phone call.
All state of the art stuff with the club following models that are already
in place at other new grounds like Arsenal.
So into the arena. On opening it's hoped to have 27,000 seats. Again it's
the size that impresses. What you don't see from the outside is that pitch
area is slightly below ground level making the inside look bigger. The
stands stretch up and back from the pitch, it's good exercise climbing to
the very back and the views are stunning. The seats allow more width for the
larger chap and there's enough leg room for the taller gent (I'm 6'2 and
could sit comfortably). The bowl shape is complete now. Three sides are
single tier and will create over 20,000 seats. The old Grange End will now
be at the opposite end of the ground with areas allocated for away fans in
the South East corner (old Bob Bank / Grange End corner) and the family
section in the South Stand.
The West Stand will house the corporate areas, restaurants, TV studios,
office space, club shop. As well as seating over 5,000 people. The fittings
that are being installed with ensure the club can accommodate HD television,
make it easier for SKY TV to just roll up and plug their equipment and offer
top facilities for the media and visiting guests.
After seeing it for myself I'm more excited than ever about making the
switch. There will be complaints that we'll have a stadium like everybody
else's and it'll become a soulless arena but what we have is the fans.
Passionate, noisy fans that will make the difference. They will make it
Leaving Ninian Park will be the end of one era. But a better one will just