Madejski Stadium

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Madejski Stadium
Mad Stad[1]
Madejski Stadium logo.svg
Madejski Stadium - geograph.org.uk - 3023491.jpg
Full name Madejski Stadium
Location Junction 11
M4
Reading
Berkshire
RG2 0FL
Coordinates 51°25′20″N 0°58′58″W / 51.42222°N 0.98278°W / 51.42222; -0.98278Coordinates: 51°25′20″N 0°58′58″W / 51.42222°N 0.98278°W / 51.42222; -0.98278
Owner RFC Holdings Ltd
Capacity 24,161[2]
Field size 105 m x 68 m[3]
Surface Desso GrassMaster
Construction
Opened 22 August 1998
Construction cost £50m +
Tenants
Reading F.C. (1998–present)
Richmond F.C. (Allied Dunbar Premiership) (1998–1999)
London Irish (Aviva Premiership) (2000–present)

The Madejski Stadium /məˈdski/ is a football stadium located in Reading, Berkshire, England. It is the home of Reading Football Club playing in the Football League Championship and the rugby union club London Irish as tenants. It also provides the finish for the Reading Half Marathon. The stadium is named after Reading's chairman Sir John Madejski. It is an all-seater bowl stadium with a capacity of 24,161 and is located close to the M4 motorway. It is built on the site of a former household waste dump and is surrounded by methane vents. The West Stand contains the Millennium Madejski Hotel.

The stadium was opened on 22 August 1998 and replaced Elm Park as Reading F.C.'s home ground.

History[edit]

In 1994, the Taylor Report made all-seater stadiums compulsory in the top two divisions (the Premier League and the First Division). Reading were champions of the Second Division in 1994, and were promoted to the first division. Reading became subject to the Taylor requirements, though converting Elm Park to an all-seater stadium would have been impractical.[4] Instead, a location in Smallmead (to the south of the town) was identified as the site for a new stadium.[4] The former council landfill site was bought for £1, with further conditions that the development of the stadium would include part-funding of the A33 relief road.[5] Expansion of the club's home would also allow alternative commercial ventures (particularly leisure facilities) and shared use with other teams (such as rugby union clubs Richmond and London Irish).[5] The last competitive match at Elm Park took place on 3 May 1998 against Norwich City, with Reading losing 0–1.[6]

Reading began the 1998–99 season at the Madejski Stadium.[4] It was opened on 22 August 1998 when Luton Town were beaten 3–0 with Grant Brebner having the honour of scoring the first ever goal at the stadium. Plans for the stadium had first been unveiled some three years previously, when chairman John Madejski had decided that Elm Park was unsuitable for redevelopment as an all-seater stadium and that relocation to a new site was necessary.

Structure and facilities[edit]

The stadium cost more than £50m to build and the pitch incorporates a system of synthetic fibres interwoven with natural grass, installed at a cost of more than £750,000.[3]

The Madejski Stadium as viewed from the stadium's north stand.

In November 2004 the North Stand capacity was said to be 4,946 including 39 spaces for wheelchairs.[7] The South Stand has a capacity of 4,350 and is where visiting supporters sit for Reading games. The initial allocation visiting teams receive is 2,327 and is the half of the stand joining onto the East Stand. Under the terms of the original lease, London Irish only utilised the South Stand for the most popular matches. However, since the renegotiation and extension of the lease, the South Stand is used for all London Irish matches and season tickets have been sold for the stand since the 2008–09 season. The stand has a large TV screen in the top corner. In November 2004, the East Stand had a capacity of 7,286 including 28 spaces for wheelchairs.[7] The stadium's video screen is located in the corner of the stand joining onto the South Stand.

The West Stand contains a lower and an upper tier, but the upper level does not overhang the lower tier. Executive boxes are found between the two tiers. The tunnel and dugouts are on this side of the stadium. The outside of the stand contains the Millennium Madejski Hotel.

Future[edit]

For the first time in its history, Reading Football Club participated in the Premier League in the 2006–07 season. As a result of the sell-out crowds for their first few fixtures of the season, the club announced its intention, in October 2006,[8] to make a planning application to extend the ground to between 37,000 to 38,000 seats. The application was made on 24 January 2007, proposing initially the extension of the East Stand with a further 6,000 seats (raising capacity to around 30,000) and subsequently extension of the North and South Stands to reach the full proposed capacity.[9] On Thursday 24 May 2007, it was announced that planning permission had been granted to extend the stadium to a capacity of 36,900.[10] The first phase will expand the East Stand by 6,600 seats. Work was set to start in mid-2008, after the initial plan of extending in 2007 was scrapped due to spectator seats being affected, during the work, already being sold to season ticket holders. Reading's relegation from the Premier League in 2008 meant that all expansion plans were put on hold, but were revived when promotion was again achieved in 2012.[11] Plans to expand the ground were again put on hold after Reading were relegated back to the Football League Championship at the end of the 2012–13 season after a goalless draw at home to QPR on 28 April 2013.

Other uses[edit]

London Irish playing London Wasps in August 2011

London Irish moved into the Madejski from The Avenue in Sunbury-on-Thames in 2000. On 11 January 2008, it was announced that London Irish had reached an agreement to continue playing home games at the Madejski Stadium until 2026. Irish have seen their average crowds grow to more than 11,100 since moving to Reading in 2000, holding the record for the biggest rugby union Premiership attendance at a club ground, when 23,709 people saw Irish play Wasps on 16 March 2008.[12] This record stood until 19 Sep 2009, when Leicester opened their new stand to 24,000.

The Madejski Stadium topped a poll of rugby fans as the "best environment in which to watch rugby", in a survey of almost 1,500 rugby fans conducted for Rugby World magazine. The Madejski Stadium received nearly a quarter of all votes as the ground which offered supporters the best facilities on a match day.[13]

The Madejski Stadium is also the final venue for the Reading Senior Cup.[14]

Records[edit]

The highest attendance at the stadium was 24,184 (apparently exceeding the stadium's stated capacity) on 17 November 2012 for the Premier League game with Everton beating the previous record of 24,160 set on 16 September 2012 for the Premier League game with Tottenham Hotspur. The highest attendance for a cup match at the stadium was 24,107 on 3 December 2003 for the Football League Cup match with Chelsea.[15]

Highest Home Attendances[edit]

Opponent Competition Date Attendance Notes
1 Everton 2012-13 Premier League 17 November 2012 24,184 Exceeding the stadium's stated capacity
2 West Ham United 2012-13 Premier League 29 December 2012 24,183 Exceeding the stadium's stated capacity
3 Tottenham Hotspur 2012-13 Premier League 16 September 2012 24,160
4 Manchester United 2007–08 Premier League 19 January 2008 24,134
5 Tottenham Hotspur 2007–08 Premier League 3 May 2008 24,125
6 Aston Villa 2006–07 Premier League 10 February 2007 24,122
7 Liverpool 2006–07 Premier League 7 April 2007 24,121
8 Newcastle United 2007–08 Premier League 27 October 2007 24,119
9 Fulham 2007–08 Premier League 12 April 2008 24,112
10 Tottenham Hotspur 2006–07 Premier League 12 November 2006 24,110
11 Newcastle United 2006–07 Premier League 30 April 2007 24,109
12 Chelsea 2003–04 Football League Cup 3 December 2003 24,107

Transport[edit]

The stadium is connected to Reading railway station by the Green Park FastTrack bus service.[16] The proposed Green Park railway station was planned to serve the stadium and Green Park Business Park. On 27 October 2011 the owners of Green Park, Prupim, announced that plans for the station had been suspended after a local housing development project had been scaled down.[17]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Bunce, Alan (23 December 2011). "1966 and the Reading FC kit that took the biscuit". Reading Post. S&B Media. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Madejski Stadium information". readingfc.co.uk. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Stadium pitch has been lengthened". readingfc.co.uk. 2 July 2007. Retrieved 2 July 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c 1871 (2003). "The Home Grounds of Reading FC". 1871 – The Ultimate Reading FC Website. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Digby (2001, p. 46)
  6. ^ Loader, Graham (1998). "READING 0 Norwich City 1". Hob Nob Anyone?. Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  7. ^ a b http://mobile.readingfc.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10306~311866,00.html
  8. ^ "Royals ready to extend Madejski". BBC Sport. 21 September 2006. Retrieved 28 January 2007. 
  9. ^ "Plans for stadium expansion will be submitted to the Council later this week" (Press release). Reading F.C. 22 January 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2007. 
  10. ^ "Committee Report by the Director of Environment Culture & Sport" (PDF). Reading Borough Council Planning Applications Committee. 23 May 2007. Retrieved 31 May 2007. 
  11. ^ "Anton Zingarevich makes Reading Premier League transfer list". BBC Sport. BBC. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  12. ^ "Walder inspires Wasps win". Sky Sports. 11 January 2008. 
  13. ^ "Madejski Stadium tops rugby poll as 'best environment'". BBC News. 29 November 2010. 
  14. ^ "Wokingham & Emmbrook win Reading Senior Cup". Berkshire Media Group. Bracnell News. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Highest Attendances". Royals Record. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  16. ^ "Our other bus services". Reading Buses. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  17. ^ Millward, David (27 October 2011). "Green Park station plan hits the buffers". Get Reading. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
Bibliography

External links[edit]