Published September 5, 2013
Cardiff City Stadium is shown Aug. 25 in a match against Man City.
EPL Cardiff City has "immediately started planning for life in the top tier of English football," according to Joe Strange of the London DAILY MAIL. More than £30M ($47M) was invested in new players over the summer, and "so far that ambition appears to be paying off." It is "not just on the pitch that Cardiff hope to impress." Since swapping the "dilapidated" Ninian Park for the "shiny new," multi-million pound Cardiff City Stadium in the summer of '09, the club has "made a conscious effort to improve their reputation at every level." The south Wales club "was once viewed as one of the most hostile to visit," with a proportion of home fans "taking it upon themselves to welcome away supporters with violence, obscene chants and arguably the most unfriendly environment at any ground" in the U.K. So, after moving just a couple of hundred yards down the road to its new home, Cardiff "embarked upon a huge programme of activity to improve who they are as a club, of which the matchday experience is key." In a bid "to attract more opposition fans," Cardiff has "created an away end designed to make them feel at home and enjoy their day, no matter what the result." After entering the ground, fans "can grab themselves a beer or burger served by staff wearing their own team's home shirt." Additionally, these tops "are handed out to a lucky few during half-time." The club also shows the 12:45pm local time Premier League kick-off "live on big screens." Cardiff "also put on a DVD of the away team for fans to enjoy pre-match." For Everton's visit last weekend, the supporters from Merseyside "were treated to the club's 1984 FA Cup final victory over Watford." There are "also posters dotted around welcoming fans to Cardiff and informing them how many miles they've travelled to get there, plus a PlayStation area for children to enjoy before kick-off." And, although there was not the demand for Everton's visit, Cardiff also "offer to cater for any local delicacies away fans may wish to eat." On top of the matchday activities, the Welsh side "have set up a dedicated Twitter account, @CardiffCityAway, to provide a raft of information, answer any queries visiting fans may have and give away prizes in the week after the game." It is "not just the away end which has benefited from Cardiff's change in attitude." In the family stand, there is "live music and performances from a magician and dance troop." The family stand "also boasts a skill school for kids to take part in," while a Cardiff player not involved in the matchday squad "pops along for a live question and answer session before the game gets underway" (DAILY MAIL, 9/4