Well they’ve made it this far to the Championship Playoff Final 2010 in Wembley-against rivals Blackpool-the date Saturday May 22nd 2010.
It was an early start with the alarm going off at 06:30am and making our way through a very empty Canton to the 68 coaches all awaiting us at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Bags were packed, flags bought and free Peter’s Pies and Pasties at the ready. The mass exodus and party can be begin!
Well for all the other coaches it did – we were left behind with 2 other coaches awaiting late passenger who never actually turned up but that wasnt going to dampen our spirits. As we left the homeland for England it was a really glorious day of unbroken sunshine and everything seemed fine with the world. Until we had to turn off at Bath and wait on the side of a B road with a broken down coach. Not too sure WHY we had to wait or what purpose it served but everyone was getting very nervous about another delay again and possibilities of missing the game! Eventually we did leave but all the other passengers sitting on the road-side praying they weren’t going to miss the game either.
A steady drive to Reading services where there was a mass of Blue and White and much more of a party atmosphere. Everyone was beginning to feel the true sense of the occasion with people singing, chanting and generally enjoying themselves. The party had already begun!
Onwards towards Wembley and some more unlucky souls had broken down but spirits still appeared up! Some small minor queues and then we caught our first glances of the impressive structure (No NOT Windsor Castle Cardiff Blogger!) Wembley stadium appeared many times in the distance but as soon as we got close to it we seemed to go further away to get near again. The traffic on the local streets didnt seem too bad until we attempted to join a massive queue near the stadium – but our driver knew different! He bypassed Macdonalds and Ikea and entered via the other entrance on Southern Way (the one we queued on for 3 hour at the FA Cup semi) and there wasnt a single vehicle on this route – why was noone else using it? (I shouldnt laff but it was our own personal route in that noone else knew about and probably saved us an hour of queuing via the other route!) What a driver – what an entrance – and we had certainly made up for the earlier delays! We had arrived at Wembley and we told to take notice of where we had parked and to be familiar with what was near! Sorted. Time – just after 12:00. Quick obligatory photos of Wembley then off to find a pub!
First reactions to the sunny Wembley atmosphere was that it was a sea of tangerine with not many City fans around! There were small pools of people milling around outcongregating inside and outside the pubs with rousing renditions of all the usual songs. The main road came to a standstill with the amount of people enjoying themselves. The police cautiously watched from the sidelines but there was no hint of trouble at all. The only thing worthy of mentioning were the 12 policemen moving some women and children on for sitting on a patch of grass!!!
Into The Greyhound pub for some well deserved beers and to lap up the amazing atmosphere. Everyone was in party mode and really optimistic about the game ahead. Twas great fun chatting to random people about the game and also a few familiar faces that we bumped into aswell!! We also bumped into the chap that was staying at The Ibis Hotel and had put that St David’s flag outside his hotel window.
Four, six or was it eight pints later and it was time to join the masses to get into Wembley stadium. What an atmosphere and anticipation that ensued on the walk to K Block and into the stadium.
Once inside the stadium it was time for one more quick pint and more singing before sitting down in the top tier (£65 for these seats!) for some pre-match entertainment. The flags were out, the players all lined up and the crowd suitably vocal for a great game. Kick off.
Rather than join all the City fans leaving instantly we thought we would be a bit more sporting and stay and watch Blackpool celebrate on the podium. Whilst this was happening a few other fans in the City end also celebrated!
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Dejected City fans mingled with Blackpool fans post-match whilst looking for their coaches amongst the maze of coaches. Took us forever to find our mind! They had only gone and removed the sign on our coach so we probably passed it many a times whilst searching for it!
A rather sombre journey back but time to reflect on what was still a momentus day for Cardiff City and the end to a bumpy year of which we came soooooooo close but ultimately the better side on the day did win and we wish them every success!
Back home about 22:30 and just intime to see Canton bustling with people drowning their sorrows! Always next year guys!