Swansea fans’ guide to St Gallen
Posted on 2nd December 2013
While our International Ground Guide is undergoing some maintenance, we thought we’d provide our usual service of advice and information for travelling supporters in brief blog form.
Once up and running again our ground guide will cover all manner of information from travel options to hotel advice, eating and drinking suggestions to practical tips on getting around, along with safety and security advice and anything else we think will be of use to travelling supporters.
In the meantime, while the below might not necessarily have all the information you’ll be after if you’re heading out to Switzerland, we’re always available to help – just drop us an email if you have any questions.
We’ll do our best to find out what you need to know, either from our own vast experience in covering England and Wales games abroad, or from our friends at Football Supporters Europe.
About the Team
St Gallen might not be one of the most successful or biggest names in Swiss football, but they’re not without their history. Founded in 1879 they are the oldest existing club in Swiss football, and indeed in continental Europe. Despite winning the league as recently as 2000, they’ve spent the last few years battling relegation from the top flight, and have been relegated twice since 2008. They have also managed one Swiss Cup win, back in 1969.
Those of you with a very good memory might remember that the Swiss side have played English opposition before – beating Chelsea 2-1 on aggregate in the 2000-01 Uefa Cup.
They play their home games at the AFG Arena, located a couple of miles west of the city centre on Zurcher Strasse. The stadium’s capacity is a shade under 20,000 all-seater, and it’s a compact and modern stadium (it was completed in 2009).
The well-travelled German manager Otto Pfister held his second ever managerial job at St Gallen back in the 60s before going on to coach the likes of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Senegal.
About the City
St Gallen is a twon of around 160,000 inhabitants located around an hour from Zurich. There are twice-hourly trains that serve St Gallen from the airport, as well as regular services from the city itself. The town centre itself is largely pedestrianised, and small enough to cover on foot.
There aren’t a huge deal of tourist attractions, but we would point you in the direction of the Abbey of St Gallen, which houses the famous Stiftsbibliothek. This historic library contains many medieval manuscripts and is quite a stunning piece of architecture in its own right. There are other small museums in the town, along with a botanical garden, but not much else besides. For those who like their beer, there’s always the Schutzengarten brewery with its own museum and restaurant. Alternatively you could head up into the hills for some lovely views over the town and valley.
When heading around town, it’s best to keep close to the main square, Marktplatz. Between the train station and the main square are a number of pedestrian streets with cafés, bars and coffee shops.
Thanks to Martin Kobelt for the image used in this blog, reproduced under Creative Commons licence.