|Full name||Madejski Stadium|
|Opened||22 August 1998|
|Owner||RFC Holdings Ltd|
|Construction cost||£50m +|
|Field dimensions||105 m x 68 m|
|Reading F.C. (1998–present)
Richmond F.C. (Allied Dunbar Premiership) (1998–1999)
London Irish (Aviva Premiership) (2000–present)
The Madejski Stadium // 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.
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. Instead, a location in Smallmead (to the south of the town) was identified as the site for a new stadium. 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. 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). The last competitive match at Elm Park took place on 3 May 1998 against Norwich City, with Reading losing 0–1.
Reading began the 1998–99 season at the Madejski Stadium. It was opened on 22 August 1998 when Luton Town were beaten 3–0 with Grant Brebner having the honour of scoring the first 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
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.
In November 2004 the North Stand capacity was said to be 4,946 including 39 spaces for wheelchairs. 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. 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.
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, 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. On Thursday 24 May 2007, it was announced that planning permission had been granted to extend the stadium to a capacity of 36,900. 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. 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.
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. 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.
The Madejski Stadium is also the final venue for the Reading Senior Cup.
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.
Highest Home Attendances
|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|
The stadium is connected to Reading railway station by the Green Park FastTrack bus service. 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.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Madejski Stadium.|
- Stadium information from Reading FC official website