Five grand reasons

THE day before the Arsenal v Liverpool Community Shield match at the Millennium Stadium, an equally competitive - though massively less skilful - game took place at Leckwith Athletics Stadium.

MPs and AMs from Wales took on an Anglo Scottish MPs XI and we raised pounds 5,000 for Truce International, a charity which aims to promote peace through sport.

When Afghanistan last played an international football match at Kabul Stadium against Pakistan, Taliban soldiers beat up the visiting players for wearing shorts.

The Stadium was also used for public executions. Truce International has already provided kit and equipment for matches, and is hoping to improve Kabul Stadium and get league and international football going again.

Honour was satisfied in our match as we came back from 2-0 down in the first half to draw 2-2. Sir Geoff Hurst presented the Shield to both captains and it is hoped it will become an annual event. Man of the Match Jim Murphy, MP for Glasgow Eastwood, remarked how much he wished the match could have taken place at Ninian Park. The Cardiff City ground is a shrine for Scots, particularly Celtic fans.

I was on the Bob Bank that pulsating evening on September 10, 1985 when Wales were robbed of World Cup qualification by yet another controversial penalty incident.

The disappointment of the Welsh and joy of the Scots were overshadowed by the news that Jock Stein, the Scotland team manager, had collapsed and died at the end of the match.

It will not be a shrine for long, however, as a new stadium is to be built for Cardiff City on the Athletics Stadium site, and Ninian Park will be developed for housing.

It would be nice to think that the new streets would reflect the history of the site, including perhaps a Jock Stein Close in memory of the great man.

With the Bluebirds' great start to the season, confidence is high that promotion is on the way, and that the new stadium will provide facilities fit for the Premiership.

There is now talk of rebuilding the athletics stadium at UWIC in Cyncoed, not Leckwith.

It is said that this could boost a bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. There will never be a stadium big enough to hold the Commonwealth Games athletics at Cyncoed.

The answer has been obvious all along, but the council and the club will not embrace it.

Build Cardiff City a state-of-the-art football stadium at Leckwith as planned, but base it on the Stade de France in Paris, where the World Cup Final was held in 1998.

A truly innovative and modern facility with spectators close to the action for football, and retractable seating covering an athletics track which could be used for major events like the Commonwealth Games.

There's no need to build a separate athletics stadium, just a training track next door for community use and warming up at major events.

With vision and political will, we could have a facility which would complement the Millennium Stadium and be the envy of Britain. Cardiff City in the Premiership and a stadium ready and waiting to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games - what a prospect.