Page last updated at 13:16 GMT, Saturday, 17 May 2008 14:16 UK

Stilt walkers join fans at screen

By Nick Dermody
BBC News, in Cardiff

People gathered to watch the game in Cardiff Bay
Fans cheer as Katherine Jenkins sings the Welsh anthem

For Cardiff City fans without tickets to the FA Cup Final in Wembley, a big screen was put up in Cardiff Bay to watch the game against Portsmouth.

As kick off approached, fans and their families arrived.

Youngsters play kick about with stilt walkers while others played in the water fountain in front of the Wales Millennium Centre.

By 1300 BST dozens of fans were sitting at the top of Plass Roald Dahl as the coverage started.

Among those watching were Sid and Barbara Parker who left their home in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire at 0830 BST for the drive to the capital.

Trudi Kenwood, Alan Browning and their children
This family wanted their children to know the game's significance

The couple, who met when Mr Parker did his national service in the west Wales town in 1954.

"I'm from Cardiff originally and I've supported them ever since - and I've converted her," said Mr Parker, 75, a retired insurance agent.

"It's an achievement for a Welsh team to get to Wembley."

Mrs Parker, 70, said: "Even if they lose, it's an honour to think they have come so far."

People entering the plas have to go through a security control.

No alcohol is allowed in although a beer stand is on site and the bar at the Wales Millennium Centre is open.

Crowds watching the game at Roald Dahl Plass
Thousands gathered at the big screen to watch the Bluebirds

Police and stewards are patrolling the site but they are not the only people policing the event - the three-person Bristol-based comedy team Dot Comedy are patrolling the arena dressed as referees.

Spokesman William Wilding said: "Between you and me I think there are more than 11 people on the pitch".

Trudi Kenwood and partner Alan Browning, from Newport, with their children Katie , seven, Milly, six and Toby, four, said they wanted their children to know what a special day it was by going to the big screen.

Ms Kenwood said: "We wanted them to remember that they came to watch it, because it's a bit of history.

"We wanted them to know its significance."

Mr Browning said Toby was beginning to appreciate football.

Sid and Barbara Parker
Sid and Barbara Parker have travelled from west Wales

"He knows about scoring, he pulls his jersey over his head and shouts 'Goal'!".

By half time the audience which had been relatively quiet throughout the first half became even subdued after their team went one nil behind at Wembley.

As if to reflect this the sky, which had been clearing throwing warm sunshine onto the crowd of around 7,000 began to fill with threatening dark clouds.

A hard core of around 250 fans wearing colours at the front of the audience cheered and jeered with every kick of the game.





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