Curtis' mixed feelings on venues

11 September 2009 07:59
Ex-Wales striker Alan Curtis has mixed feelings over proposals for Wales to play competitive games at other venues. Fewer than 15,000 people saw Wales lose 3-1 to Russia in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier at Cardiff's 74,500-capacity Millennium Stadium. Curtis sees the wisdom of taking games elsewhere but believes the Millennium Stadium should still host major games. "In a stadium that vast with so few people, then it's really difficult to create an atmosphere," Curtis said. Curtis believes there would be benefits to the national team if competitive games are taken to the likes of Swansea's Liberty Stadium, the new Cardiff City Stadium, Wrexham's Racecourse Ground and Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli. Next week a Football Association of Wales committee will meet to consider the issue. Curtis, who played 35 Wales games, scoring six goals, also wants matches against major opposition to be played at the Millennium Stadium - even though a big gun like Russia still attracted so few spectators. The Swansea City backroom staff member said: "I would have loved to have had the opportunity to play at the Millennium Stadium but - obviously from a current player's point of view - I think there were... certainly under 15,000 [to see Wales v Russia]. "Whereas even 15,000, be it at the Liberty or Cardiff's new stadium, I think obviously the passion, the atmosphere would have been far greater. "I can fully see the sense of taking it to the Liberty, Cardiff or even down the road at Parc y Scarlets. "It [playing in front of a small crowd] doesn't do anybody any good. It's like Rod Stewart or a performer going into a concert hall which is only maybe a quarter full. "So it's disappointing from that point of view and then hopefully, with the next generation of exciting youngsters we've got, then the Millennium Stadium will be the venue because tickets will be at a premium." Curtis says poor past crowd figures for Wales games at the Liberty Stadium should be judged against the nature of the games. He says front-line players have a tendency to withdraw from the Wales squad ahead of friendlies, turning fans off the idea of attending. "I think it's really been because of the opposition and the fact it's of a friendly nature," he added. "You talk to people - more often than not for friendly games players tend to drop out of it, so there's never the full squad. "But I feel sure if it was a competitive game… if they'd played Russia [at Swansea] the place would have been packed, as I'm sure likewise would Cardiff have been. "Then the atmosphere would certainly lift the players."

Source: BBC_Sport