Our Impressions of The Madejski Stadium
The excellent Madjeski stadium was opened in August 1998 and is current shared by Reading FC and London Irish RFC. This stadium has been voted the best ground outside the premiership (Wolves fans may argue with that!) on several occasions. The stadium itself boasts a 24,200 capacity all seater bowl with totally unrestricted view from every seat. The stadium was built at a cost of Â£50m, and the complex also includes houses, a Conference Centre and four-star hotel.
In early summer of 2001, London Irish signed a seven year contract to use the stadium as their home for Rugby Union fixtures. During the close season a new 'Desso' pitch system has been installed at the stadium at a cost of Â£350,000. This is the first of a series of joint investments planed by both clubs to ensure that facilities for players and spectators are second to none.
The away fans are normally located in the Foster's South Stand, which has a flexible capacity rising up to approximately 4,300 for larger teams. Away fans should enter the ground via Turnstile Gates 9 & 10.
Inside the concourse part of the stadium there are bars and food counters offering the usual fare i.e.: Lager, Bitter and Guiness and Pies, Pasties and soft drinks etc. The home fans 'stronghold', the East Stand, also has a club shop and a match day bookmakers.
Outside the stadium, at the North end of the ground is the Reading FC Megastore which has friendly staff and an impressive array of RFC merchandise and also merchandise from our ground sharing Rugby friends London Irish.
All in all an impressive ground to visit even though I am a little Biased. Just below the ground there is a large retail park with a McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut and on match days there are a large number of Burger vans outside the stadium.
The Reading fans are on the whole quite friendly and, thankfully there is little trouble seen around the ground. An excellent bus service runs from the town centre on match days I think it's about ?1.50 return from Reading BR station.
Jamie Hinton has e-mailed us, and says 'With reference to the Royals a train station is to be built a few hundred yards from the ground. Also their are no local pubs. We do have The world turned upside-down but that is no longer open to the public as a pub, only to those wanting a meal. You can try the whitley tavern but its a good 30/40 mins walk. The club also has planning permission to extend the ground, the east, north and south stands can be built on. Only the west stand cannot be added to due to the clubs 4 star hotel that is behind it. The foundations have been laid below the North, South and East Stands for a second tier to be build'
Data supplied by Iain Rutherford - 5th February 2002
Directions to The Madejski Stadium
From the North, West or East
Exit the M4 at Junction 11 and head north on the A33 signposted Reading Town Centre. The link roads to the Madejski stadium are on your left, although to be brutally honest if you haven't spotted the stadium by this point, then you shouldn't be allowed behind the wheel anyway.
The nearest station is Reading, which is just over three miles away from the Madejski Stadium. If arriving in Reading by train, the easiest way to complete the journey is to use the number 79 shuttle bus. You may need to ask for the location of the bus stop, as this seems to move from week to week, but the service leaves the town centre at approx 5 minute intervals starting two hours before kick-off. Alternatively, there is also a taxi rank immediately outside the rail station.
There are also four buses that run from different parts of Reading and park immediately outside the North-West corner of the stadium. The buses are...
No.72 from Woodley
No.73 from Lower Earley
No.74 from Emmer Green
No.75 from Purley.
Local Area around The Madejski Stadium
There are 1800 spaces at the Madejski Stadium Car Park, but 700 of these are reserved for home season ticket holders. This car park is also used by the Park and Ride buses serving the town centre, which offer a very frequent service.
There is also around 500 spaces at the Reading Greyhound Stadium, but this is normally full by 2:00pm on match days!
If you are attending a Saturday game, you may be lucky, and get a park in the 'HP' car park just off Junction 11 of the M4. There are 600 spaces available here, at a cost of ?5.
Alternatively, checkout the speedway stadium car park just north of the Madejski where you will be charged ?3. There is also some street parking, but you will need to get there early to find a good spot.
Dave an Ipswich Town supporter has e-mailed us, and says 'Well what can I say that hasn't already been said, except nice stadium shame about the car parking. Basically, it's a case of arrive at least two hours before kick off or queue aimlessly and end up in Halfords car park. There are 2,000 spaces at the stadium, 600 at the Compaq site, and 500 at the Reading Greyhound Stadium, but for approx 22,000 fans (19,500 vs ITFC) these spaces fill up very quickly, and chaos ensues on the dual carriage way between the town centre and the M4. We arrived 1.5 hrs before kick-off, queued for an hour and had to park in Halfords car park, while this was free it was over a mile to the stadium.'
Disabled Facilities at The Madejski Stadium
A total of 128 wheelchair spaces are available, and there is excellent access for both Home and Away fans. These spaces are located throughout the ground, so fans can select their location, and are also placed back from the pitch, to the viewing is excellent, and they are protected from the elements. For information on reserving specific seat, please can the club well in advance.
For the visually impaired, there is a commentary system. Again, please call the club well in advance for reservations.
Pubs Near The Madejski Stadium
The Post House
Iain Rutherford has dropped us an e-mail, and says 'The Post House, is about a 10 min walk from the stadium, situated on the old Basingstoke Road, and is signposted from the second roundabout off the M4. You can also park there for £3 which goes to the Sports Foundation charity.'
This pub is always a favourite. This pub has 'loads' of TV's... there isn't a single place where you can't see a TV and the lager is priced very reasonably for the town centre. Within crawling distance of the station too!
The forms part of the Madejski complex, and if you want to enter this bar, you will need to get a season ticket holder to sign you in.
The World Turned Upside Down
John Brown has dropped us an e-mail and says 'About the only places nearby are the Holiday Inn (formerly Post House) and the World Turned Upside Down (upsy-downsy), a Harvester Inn. Both are situated on the Basingstoke Road about a 10 minute walk from the stadium. Just south of Junction 11 on the M4 is the Swan; Vic and Jenny's Irish Wolf Hound Jumbo is the official mascot at Madejski for London Irish. In the retail park just below the stadium are KFC and BurgerKing, whilst Harry Ramsden's is opposite the Holiday Inn.'
Magpie & Parrot
Paul has e-mailed us, and says 'For the older supporter travelling to Madjeski from Arborfield/Wokingham & beyond, try the quaint & Good Beer Guide 2002/3 listed Magpie & Parrot at Shinfield for a pint before or after a Saturday game. Located beside the A327 it is the first building on the right on entering Shinfield from Arborfield after crossing the River Loddon. It is unusual as it also doubles as a garden centre! So another reason for visiting might be to get those bedding plants ready for the summer. Don't get caught out by the licensing hours either: 12.00 -7.00pm weekdays & Saturdays;12.00 - 3.00pm on Sundays. You are assured a warm welcome from the landlady, Carole, and her regulars as well as a superb pint of London Pride - the only beer on draught! In the spring & summer the garden terrace overlooking sheep grazing pastures beside the river is almost as big an attraction as the cosy & attractively furnished single bar with real log fire in the winter. No mobiles, background music or fruit-machines here - just good company, conversation and an excellent pint of beer. Just like pubs ought to be!'