Date: 23rd October 2009 at 10:43am
Written by:

SeasideEssexXile gives us his guide to Swansea’s Liberty Stadium.

The Liberty Stadium – Swansea City

Hang on to the rail, the Holloway roller coaster is spiralling out of control. Saturday`s trip to the Valleys could see us go, wait for it, top of the league.
Ye gods when was the last time we were even in with a sniff of such heady heights? Tuesday`s selection had people quickly changing their first scorer betting slips and questioning Holloway`s team selection, but the boy came good – again and already we have won as many home league games as we did in the whole of last season.
At the moment he can certainly not only talk a good game, but the players he puts actually can also do it where it matters too.
& so to Saturdays trip to the principality. Our last 2 visits have seen a return of 6 points and arguably one of the finest away victories on record, what would we give for a win and the other 4 results going our way?

How To Get There

M55, M6 then M5 then the M4 at J20. At J45 leave the M4 and take the A4067 towards the City Centre (sign posted A4067 South). Stay on the A4067 for around two and half miles and you will reach the stadium on your left.
The club are keen for away fans to use the park + ride system from Swansea vale (signposted from the A4067). At a cost of £5 away fans get their own buses to and from the ground. Mini buses & coaches get to park at the ground at a cost of £10 per vehicle. There is street parking around though so use that as the cheapest option.
For the sat navvers – SA1 2FA.

For the Virgin lovers amongst us – Swansea High St Station is a 2 mile, 25 minute walk from the ground. As you come out of the station turn right and go up the High Street. At the traffic lights turn right into Neath Road. Proceed straight along Neath Road and you will eventually reach the stadium on your right. If you don`t fancy the trek then buses 4 and 4a from the station will take you to the ground.

The Ground

Swansea City Football Club played at the welcoming Vetch Field from 1911 when they played on a ‘clinker’ surface, as a result of the ground being the site of the former coal store for the local gas works.

The sports ground was shoehorned in between terraced housing, with the stands overlooked by a Territorial Army depot and Swansea Prison. By 2004, the once record attendance of nearly 33,000 had been reduced to an official capacity of nearer 11,000.

The condition of the ground was deteriorating rapidly and the West Stand roof had been removed for safety reasons with the remaining main terrace acting as a roof for the lower tier. Along with the council, and the Ospreys RU team who the Swans now share the ground with construction began in the Autumn of 2003 with the opening game taking place in the stadium between Swansea and Fulham on 23rd July, 2005.

& boyo did they do a good job. The pitch – with the Liberty Stadium home to professional football and rugby teams, the pitch construction had to be carefully planned to allow it to cope with the high impact events of both codes.
The pitch is made up of different layers which all help the durability necessary for such a playing surface. There is a state of the heart drainage system and under-soil heating, while there are approximately 20 million artificial grass fibres sewn into the pitch to increase its durability

We`ll be sat in at one end of the ground in the North Stand. There`s room for 3500 here, but I`ll expect around the 650-750 mark to travel on Saturday. As with most new grounds the view is good and the legroom is one of the best you`ll ever get. The concourses are big, and have all the usual facilities.
Things you didn’t know about the Liberty Stadium

There are 1,450 pre-cast concrete piles in the ground.
If you laid out all the piles end to end, it would stretch almost 13 miles – approximately from Swansea to Port Talbot.
There is approximately 150 tonnes of reinforcement in the foundations.
Within the building and foundations there are more than 4,800 cubic metres of concrete, which were delivered to site by lorries.
There are over 8,500 linear metres of formwork in the ground for foundations.
There has been 24,000 cubic metres of excavated material.
There is over 18,000 cubic metres of imported fill onsite.
The surface area beneath the Stadium is a massive 26,662m2 or 6½ acres.
The upper floors and roof structure will be supported by 2,500 tonnes of structural steelwork, which is equal to the weight of 300 average sized African elephants or 1,400 Ford Focus cars.
There are approximately 2,500 holding down bolts fixing 460 steel columns.
The overall area of block work forming the internal and external walls amounts to 27,500m2 or 300,000 blocks.
There are over 420 doors throughout the stadium.
There are 26 sets of stairs.
There are 12 lifts.
There are 30 number turnstiles.
There are 250 WC’s.
There are 200 wash hand basins.
There are 5,000 light fittings.
There are over 10,000 tress and shrubs in the landscaped areas.
The pitch contains 10.1 million metres of ‘Desso’ nylon inserts.
Where to drink
With the new stadium comes the usual retail park nearby. There`s a Harvester nearest to the ground as well as a Frankie & Benny`s. The Coopers Arms heading back towards the M4, ale is available inside the ground, otherwise it`s into the town centre..

Stewards + Heddlu

Usual stories of requests for away fans to sit down, whilst home fans just, well stand there. Good reports of pleasantries from the stewards at the end of the game and no reported trouble following our recent visits I wouldn`t expect anything this time either.
The Heddlu, not quite the Millstad carnival experience but again can`t see anything but a trouble free day. Nowhere near as intimidating as a trip to the Vetch used to be.

Fear Factor Rating – 4.

Whether there`ll be a welcome in the hillsides is another question but with teams looking at our lofty position they have no option but to take a bit of notice of what`s happening to us as a club. Swansea`s excellent win at West Brom on Tuesday night should mean a fairly decent game of football between two teams in the top half of the table.
Here`s hoping that come 5pm it`s a case of the only singing in the valleys is that coming from the Englishmen in tangerine.

Onwards + Upwards