Champions League Final: Welsh dragon fires up football fans

June’s Champions League Final, which saw Real Madrid beat Juventus 4-1, was good news for a Cardiff SME which operates less than two miles from the stadium where the match was played.

Earlier this year, officials at UEFA and the FAW approached Wild Creations and, between them, they came up with the idea of creating a huge dragon to guard a replica of the trophy. The model was then installed in the turret of Cardiff Castle ready to welcome the teams and fans from Spain and Italy.

“The brief really appealed to us,” said company founder Matt Wild. “It appealed to our sense of drama and, with the eyes of the footballing world set to be on Cardiff, we knew we had to come up with something which would capture the imagination and engage with the public.

“Everybody talks about the ‘Ball in the Wall’ which we created for the Rugby World Cup in 2015 so the challenge for us here was to create something equally iconic while steering away from crashing something into the castle wall.  We sat down with UEFA and the FAW and thrashed out some ideas and eventually hit on using the dragon from the UEFA logo. The project was 12 months in the planning and three months in the making. As with most of our creations, an overnight install is essential to keep the element of surprise so we need to tackle any issues before the projects leave
the workshop.”

Wild Creations opened for business in 2010 and this year employed its 16th fulltime staff member. Highlights over the years have been creating four life-size velociraptors for Universal for the film launch of Jurassic World and expanding the workshop from 16,000  to 18,000 sq ft to cope with increasing demand.