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Sunday, February 22, 2009

R's On The Road to Cardiff...

Lee Brown brings you some info, hints and tips for those R's fans making the midweek trip across the Welsh border to Ninian Park.

Wednesday 25th January see QPR travel to Cardiff City in the re-arranged fixture at Ninian Park. This will also be the last time that Rangers travel to Ninian Park before Cardiff move into the nearby St. Davids stadium ready for the 2009-2010 season.

The Stadium.

Current Capacity - 20,376

Ninian Park can only be described as one of the remaining 'proper' football grounds in the football league. With so many clubs moving into the new bowl style stadiums this can only be described as a must visit ground as this will be the final chapter that QPR can impose themselves on the Ninian Park history books.
Ninian Park was built in 1910 on what used to be a rubbish tip (I will refrain from the many jokes in my head) and was named after Lt.-Col. Lord Ninian Edward Crichton-Stuart.
The atmosphere is also something that you can enjoy, although it can get quite heated, you can really make some noise and support the hoops as we look to gain further revenge and put a dent in the Bluebirds promotion push.
Away fans are located in the John Smiths Grange End. The stand is shared with home supporters so do expect a lot of banter between the fans. At the front of the Grange End there is seating available to some of the away section, but I would recommend enjoying using the terracing for what is such a rarity these days. Usually there are around 1000 tickets allocated to the away section but that can be increased to 2000 upon request by the club.
I would recommend keeping colours to a minimum also as walking out and around Ninian Park can be fairly intimidating. Cardiff fans are well known for being very passionate about their club so the least attention you bring to yourself the better (speaking from experience). A large police presence will be in force I'm sure.

The History at Ninian Park.

Results Total

Cardiff City 16
Q.P.R. 8
Draw 7
Goals Total

Cardiff City 49
Q.P.R. 38

Friday 17th November will always hold a place in Rangers hearts. The game was at Ninian Park and with the Sky cameras there one of our bright prospects enjoyed what was his finest moment, and all his last goal in the famous blue and white hoops. Yes you've guessed it, the day that Ray Jones scored a dramatic 88th minute winner for the superhoops and secured what would prove to be a vital 3points in a relegation threatened season.
Rangers have enjoyed mixed fortunes at this ground in recent years having won 3, lost 2 and drawn 2 in the previous 7 meetings (not including the play off final) in South Wales, could this be another win on the board for the superhoops?

How to get there.

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, signposted 'Cardiff (Leckwith) Athletics Stadium'. Follow the signs for the stadium and after about half a mile you will see Ninian Park over on your right. There is a huge car park across the road from the ground and at the nearby Athletics Stadium.
Alternatively if you are going by train the nearest train station is Ninian Park Halt, which is only a couple of minutes walk from the ground. This station is on a local line which is served by trains from Cardiff Central.

Pubs n Grub.

Most of the pubs near to the ground can be quite intimidating for away supporters and are not recommended. However there is the Lansdowne Hotel on Beda Road which is a ten minute walk away from the stadium.
There are no nearby restaurants or take aways nearby (from what I remember) so you may have to settle for a burger van or food inside the ground. Here is a rough price guide of some of the food inside the ground....
pies (£1.90), pasties (£1.60). hot dogs (£2.50). bacon rolls (£2.50). cheese burgers (£2.60), and chips £1 and the intriguely named 'Welsh burger' (£2.50).

Game preview.

Cardiff go into this game after a battle against a struggling Wolves side on Sunday and before that a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Before the weekends fixtures Cardiff lay in 5th place, 12points behind table toppers Wolves but with a huge 4 games in hand on the leaders. This fixture will play a key part in their promotion push, yet a defeat for Rangers will put a dent in our quest to lauch a play off push that we have begun to put together.
Cardiff, who have lost goalkeeper Peter Enckelman to injury for 8 weeks after having a knee operation, have been further rocked by finding out that on-loan 'keeper Tom Heaton, who was man of the match in the 4-0 defeat of Arsenal, will be out of action for 4-6 weeks after tearing a thigh muscle in the fixture. This leaves Cardiff with only 1 recognized 'keeper, Dimi Konstantopoulos, who impressed during a 3month emergency loan period at fierce rivals Swansea.
QPR now armed with another midfielder to hand in the presence of Jordi Lopez, look to start another unbeaten run and continue to make an impact on the play off positions. With Helder Helguson and Lee Cook returning, from injury and suspension respectively, and the form of the lightening quick, former Cardiff loanee Wayne Routledge, QPR have the ideal opportunity to unsettle the bluebirds and bring back the 3points to West London.


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