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