Wales V Republic of Ireland
Arriving at Cardiff City Stadium on Wednesday night I was prepared to watch the Wales versus Republic of Ireland. I will hold my hands up and say that I do not know the off side rule or any other rule in detail, so I am no expert when it comes to football.
Leading up to the game there was constant coverage of the Wales team and the game ahead, or should I say Gareth Bale and his is he going is he not saga. Driving down to the stadium was also fine with all the roadsides indicating to the stadium. When I packed in the stadium I was early so I didn’t expect to see that many fans but there were quite a few already there for the game. Outside the players entrance there were groups of children waiting to catch a glimpse of their heroes as they walked off the bus and into the stadium, there were even a few cameramen ready to take the shots.
As kick off approached I took to my seat and was shocked to see the lack of fans both Welsh and Irish that were in the stadium. As a rugby fan who goes to international games it was quite an unfamiliar sight, in rugby the stadiums are usually pack when it comes to a Wales game but this was far from full.
When the players came out of the tunnel it was very clear that the press were only interested in one person, Gareth Bale, who wasn’t even on the bench as he was injured. As the anthems rang out, Ireland first followed by Wales’ that took a while as the speakers blasted out the Irish anthem again, much to the delight of the visiting fans.
It was kick off, but the only sound that was being made came from the small minority of Irish fans who were in the corner of the stadium, it was like that for the majority of the game with very little noise coming from the home side.
The game was only my second ever football match that I had actually been to watch (I prefer watching on the TV at home where the commentators tell me what’s going on and nobody judges my lack of football knowledge). The first game I ever went to see was in December last year Swansea City versus Manchester United, the game where Sir Alex Ferguson said that Robin van Persie could have been killed by Ashley Williams.
That game seems like another world to the one being played by Wales and Ireland, the lack of atmosphere is clearly down to the lack of fans that haven’t bothered to buy tickets to watch. I know it was classed as a ‘friendly’, but if Cardiff City or Swansea City had a friendly match with anyone there would be far more fans watching than this, and the atmosphere would be far greater with banter flying around from all areas.
The game itself wasn’t the most exciting, finally ending with a nil, nil draw with nothing really breath taking happening or any real chance for any of the sides getting a good chance of scoring.
Leaving the game I felt a slight disappointment in not only the game but the atmosphere and the night as a whole. Leaving there was no buzz everyone was acting like it was a loss with glum faces, the truth was nobody had lost so it wasn’t that bad.
It seems so strange that so many fans go to watch the likes of Cardiff City, Swansea City and Newport County, but yet nobody seems to care about their national side. It’s the opposite in rugby…