Set against the backdrop of lush green countryside on the banks of the River Tawe, the Liberty Stadium has been the headquarters of Swansea City since July 2005, replacing their 93-year-old former home, Vetch Field.
Throughout their history, The Swans had lingered around the depths of the Football League, owing to ownership issues at times, yet with a burgeoning reputation to uphold, they – along with local Rugby Union side Ospreys – required a new venue in which they could develop and improve.
Swansea Council agreed and footed the eventual £50 million bill for the stadium to be built on the site of the former Morfa Athletics Stadium, which was just a 10-minute drive away. As of 2019, the council still own the stadium, which was initially christened ‘White Rock’ and featured a statue of legendary striker Ivor Allchurch outside the club shop.
The construction of the stadium has clearly served as an accelerant for the growth of the football club; between 2004 and 2011, under the esteemed trio of Kenny Jackett, then Roberto Martinez and finally Brendan Rodgers, the Jacks were promoted from League Two, League One and the Championship, setting them up for a seven-season stint in the Premier League, which came to an end with relegation last term.
Sunday’s fixture will mark the first time Brentford have appeared at the Liberty Stadium since August 2008 and it’s a stadium they’ve never won at in four times of asking. The Bees did, however, draw 1-1 in the First Leg of the League One Play-Offs against The Swans in May 2006; Jay Tabb scoring the opener for Martin Allen’s side, before Sam Ricketts netted the equaliser three minutes before full-time.
Did you know?
When the stadium was opened in July 2005, it became the largest purpose-built venue in Swansea, as well as Wales’ first Premier League ground. However, it is only the third-largest stadium in the country, after the Principality Stadium and the Cardiff City Stadium.
How to get there
With a large following expected in south Wales, many will have opted to take up the club’s offer of free coach travel to the fifth-round tie, but for those making their own way there, the journey by road couldn’t be simpler.
After joining the M4 – whether that be at junction 1 near Brentford or further along the journey east – supporters are required to follow the motorway all the way to junction 45. From there, take the A4067 South towards the City Centre for approximately 3 miles, where you will see the stadium situated next to the Morfa Retail Park.
The two primary parking locations, recommended by the club, are Landore Park and Walk (SA1 2JT) and Felindre Park and Ride, the latter of which is located just off junction 46 of the M4. The park-and-walk car park is just a three-minute walk to the stadium and costs £6 per car, while the park-and-ride costs £10 per car and operates buses for both home and away supporters.
Train travel from London not only costs almost £90 return, but also takes a considerable amount of time as the game is being played on a Sunday. The route takes four hours 20 minutes and requires a rail replacement bus to be taken from Bristol Parkway to Cardiff Central. If supporters are travelling from alternative locations along the route, Swansea Train Station is around a 20-minute walk to the stadium, though there is a bus service that runs straight to the stadium, costing around £5 return.
Where to eat/drink
Much like with the away trip to Stoke City earlier this season, there is a Harvester – The Morfa Parc Harvester - close to the Liberty Stadium where many fans congregate prior to games, as well as Frankie & Benny’s close by. Both are good options for a pre-drink drink, or even a meal if supporters arrive in good time. There’s also the Plough & Harrow on Llangyfeleach Road, as well as the Boss Brewing microbrewery on Neath Road, less than 10 minutes’ walk from the stadium.
However, there are more options in the city centre, with the stadium being situated two miles north of Swansea. On Wind Street supporters will find Yates’, The No Sign Wine Bar and numerous other small pubs, as well as restaurants including The Smoke Haus, ASK Italian, Las Iguanas and Five Guys. Swansea Marina and the Maritime Quarter are both within walking distance, too, with the opportunity to take in the pre-match scenery of Swansea Bay.