SOCCER : MILLENNIUM STADIUM RECORD
Wales' Euro 2004 shoot-out with Russia at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday night will be played out in front of a record breaking crowd of more than 74,000.
With all the public tickets for the game sold out weeks ago, and only three of the 125 hospitality boxes and a few of the corporate seats left to sell, the Millennium Stadium manager Paul Sergeant is getting ready for another record breaking occasion at the home of Welsh sport. 'We've had crowds of 70,000 for Welsh soccer games before, but for this vital match it looks as though we are going to sell every seat in the house. That shows how important the game is to the fans and it is going to be a spectacular night for the game in Wales,' said Sergeant.
'We've only ever sold out of hospitality boxes for soccer matches like the FA Cup and Worthington Cup finals in the past, so if we can shift the final few boxes it will be a first for Welsh football. The sale of corporate seats has also reached record levels and we are confident they will all go before the night.'
The highest attendance ever recorded for a sporting event at the Millennium Stadium was the 74,600 that attended the Heineken Cup final between Leicester Tigers and Munster in May, 2002. If all the corporate facilities are sold then the game will reach those levels.
Another record that Sergeant is hoping to reach is the sale of Welsh flags. As part of his quest to 'scorn the horn, and fly the flag', Sergeant has bought the flags to sell to fans on Wednesday to show their support for Gary Speed's team.
'We're trying to get fans to move away from bringing horns with them to the games because we have had so many complaints about the noise. Horns aren't illegal but, we're trying to give them a viable alternative to show their support by offering Welsh flags for sale at Â£4 each,' said Sergeant.
'We sold plenty of them at the stadium on Saturday, when we opened the gates to allow fans to watch the first-leg against the Russians in Moscow on the big screens, and we hope to sell many more up to kick-off time on Wednesday.'
One plea from Sergeant to the Welsh fans who are hoping to cheer their side to Portugal on Wednesday night is to arrive as early as possible for the 7.30pm kick-off.
'The earlier that everyone turns up, the better it is for all. The period from half an hour before kick off is vital to get the Russians nerves going and show your support for the Welsh players. We don't want any delays outside the ground and with plenty of passionate signing everyone will be able to soak up what is going to be a very special atmosphere,' he said.
'Ideally, we would love to see the stadium full between at least half an hour before kick-off. There are plenty of food and beverage points within the stadium to allow people to have a drink or something to eat, so please arrive as early as possible, take your seat and enjoy, it's going to be thrilling.'