There are plenty of things that go towards making a big sporting event in the Welsh capital.

You need the crowds, a pint and there was a time when most of all you needed a bacon butty.

Lots and lots of bacon butties.

For nigh on three decades the king of the pre-match munchies was Arthur Petty, who for 27 years ran the Stadium Snack Bar on the city's Quay Street, next to the City Arms pub .        

A favourite haunt of the cauliflower-eared stars of the sport's Golden Age, Arthur - who sadly passed away last week, aged 91 - provided the rocket fuel that helped the legendary likes of Barry John, Gareth Edwards and Gerald Davies reach stratospheric heights on the pitch.

 

"All the big names used to go in there," says his granddaughter Emma Freese, 43.

"They all became his friends and, when he finally retired from the shop in 1999, he did so under one proviso - that he would see out one final Rugby World Cup .

"And that year's tournament became his swan song."

A carpenter by trade, Arthur initially got into the service industry by accident, doing odd jobs for the family who previously owned the premises.

And, when they decided to sell up, he and his wife Vi grabbed at the chance for a lifestyle change, running it as a news agents (at the front) and cafe (at the back) right up until 1999.

With no coffee franchises or mini-marts to compete with back then, most of Cardiff came to them.

Gareth Edwards scores his famous try in the Arms Park mud against Scotland in February 1972 - the year Arthur and Vi stare serving food to the squad

Serving hot drinks, fry-ups and buttery doorstop toast, the shop attracted early morning workers and shoppers in the their droves, opening its doors at 6am before closing up again at 5pm.

Speaking shortly after the couple shut for the final time, seminal scrum-half Gareth Edwards recalled: "It was a great meeting place.

"A lot of the lads used to go in before getting on the bus to travel to away matches or before training to have something to eat and grab a coffee."                        

Indeed, so synonymous was the snack bar with our national game that Arthur was treated to an exclusive pre-retirement tour of the newly-built £126m Millennium Stadium, in the shadow of which he now found himself.

After slicing hundreds and thousands of rounds of bread, it was finally all over for the married couple from Heath.

The couple enjoying their down time

Grandparents to six children and great-grandparents to 10 - including a set of triplets - Arthur and Vi's days continued to be full, however, mostly taken up by babysitting for Emma and her husband Chris.

Sadly, Vi developed vascular dementia and died in 2017.

"Arthur devoted himself to caring for her towards the end, and, after she went, he sort of gave up," says Emma.

"He was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer's, the symptoms of which he'd managed to mask though his tending to Vi.

"Always loved singing though, right up until the end.

"Even on the morning he passed away he was belting out Tom Jones' Delilah over breakfast."

Emma adds that Arthur's funeral service will be held at 3pm on Friday July 26 at St German's church in Adamsdown, before moving on to the crematorium in Thornhill.  

"We're hoping a lot of Arthur and Vi's old customers will attend," she says.

"It'll make for a lovely send off."