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Cardiff City FC - reports and rants   Cardiff City 1 QPR 0
  Div Two Play Off Final: 25th May 2003

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Nationwide Division Two playoff final, Millennium Stadium, 25th May 2003

I've never been so nervous as I was before this game.

I was so worried about missing my train up that I'd installed a wide variety of alarm clocks around the house, all set to the ungodly hour of 6:40am. Needless to say, I didn't sleep too good.

After all, this was the day I was going to see Cardiff City play in the Millennium Stadium!

After a fretful dash to the tube and an agonising wait at Brixton, I finally made it to Paddington with ten minutes to spare. A huge queue arced around the station, made up entirely of QPR fans, all fully dressed up for the occasion.

All those QPR fans made for an uncomfortable journey up: there's only so many times you can hear 'sheepshaggers!' being sung. Happily, the QPR guys around my table had a slightly wider vocabulary.

Premiering the CCFC/urban75 flag!
Premiering the CCFC/urban75 flag! The result of some nifty felt pen work, my freshly branded flag was debuted in the bar before the game. And it wouldn't be long before it was christened with its first pint spilled over it either!

Painted City fans in the bar, Cardiff
Painted City fans in the bar There was a real carnival atmosphere to Cardiff, with both sets of supporters wearing mad outfits, wigs and facepaint.

Painted Cardiff fan outside the Millennium Stadium
Painted Cardiff fan outside the Millennium Stadium Suitably 'lubricated' after a few hours at the bar, we made our way to the Millennium Stadium. I was so impressed by this guy's face paint, I grabbed a picture.

Millennium Stadium
The mighty Millennium Stadium! After years of trudging around shit second and third division grounds, it's hard to express the sheer joy at seeing Cardiff City in front of such a huge crowd. 66,000 people! The Millennium is truly a world class stadium and offers a tempting taster of how things might be for City if the new stadium goes ahead...
» See larger image of stadium

The opening ceremony at the Millennium Stadium
The opening ceremony There was some half-arsed games before the kick off that seemed to involve oversized footballs being pushed around the ground, for some reason or another. I was too busy getting into my pre-match singing routine to notice. The atmosphere was absolutely electric around the stadium as both fans knew what was as stake: a place in Division One! Bring it on!!!

City come close...
City come close... The game was tight. Really tight. You could almost feel the tension in the air as both teams battled for superiority, with tight defences keeping chances to the minimum. At full time, the score remained level. Extra time!

After the first half of extra time, the score was still level. In the second half, the minutes ticked away painfully as penalties became the likely outcome. But then...

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