Aerial view of Madejski Stadium in 2014
|Full name||Madejski Stadium|
|Owner||RFC Holdings Ltd|
|Field size||105 m x 68 m|
|Opened||22 August 1998|
|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'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. Converting Elm Park to an all-seater stadium was not practical, so a location in Smallmead (to the south of the town) was identified as the site for a new stadium. The location of a closed landfill, the site was purchased for £1, on the condition that the team develop the A33 relief road. 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 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
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, with the original renegotiation and extension of the lease, the South Stand was used for all London Irish matches with an unreserved seating plan. As of 2014 with falling attendance at London Irish, the stand remains closed and is only opened if required. Season tickets for Reading 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 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.
The stadium has hosted four England under-21 internationals. These were as follows.
|1999||3 September||Luxembourg||5 - 0||2000 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group 5|
|2001||14 August||Netherlands||4 - 0||19,467||International friendly|
|2002||15 October||Macedonia||3 - 1||15,500||2004 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group 7|
|2006||28 February||Norway||2 - 2||15,022||International friendly|
An England B match was also held at the stadium.
|2006||25 May||England B||1 - 2||Belarus||22,032||International Friendly|
Although a designated football stadium, Madejski has been used regularly since opening for Rugby Union, Richmond were the first rugby team to become tenants of the Madejski, using the stadium from its opening season in 1998 after outgrowing their original home of Richmond Athletic Ground. This tenancy lasted only one season as Richmond went into administration and were nominally merged into London Irish
London Irish moved into the Madejski in 2000 after a year of ground sharing at the Stoop Memorial Ground in Twickenham. 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 London Wasps on 16 March 2008. This record stood until 19 Sep 2009, when Leicester Tigers opened their new stand to increase capacity to 24,000.
The Madejski was selected as the venue for a charity friendly football match on May 3, 2006 featuring celebrities and football legends from England and Germany. The Match, named England vs Germany: The Legends was held to raise money for the Bobby Moore Fund and the British Red Cross and to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of England winning the 1966 World Cup. The German team won the match 4-2 in an exact reversal of the score from 1966.
The stadium is also the final venue for the Reading Senior Cup.
Runners finishing the Reading Half Marathon cross the finish line inside the stadium. The stadium is also used as a hub for pre- and post-event services e.g. public transport terminus and bag drop during the day of the event.
A match from the 2000 Rugby League World Cup was also held here.
|Year||Date||Team 1||Score||Team 2||Score||Attendance||Part of|
|2000||2 November||New Zealand||84||Cook Islands||10||3,982||2000 Rugby League World Cup Group 2|
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.
|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|
On Reading match days, the stadium is served by a network of special bus services provided by Reading Buses and Stagecoach Buses. Two of these (Reading Buses F1 and F2) provide regular shuttle services from Reading railway station and from a park and ride site at Shinfield Park respectively. Fourteen further Reading Bus services provide links from various Reading suburbs and nearby towns and villages, including Newbury and Henley on Thames. Stagecoach services provide links from Basingstoke, Farnborough, Wokingham and Bracknell.
On London Irish match days, Reading Buses provide a special shuttle service (R1) from Reading railway station. When no matches are taking place, the stadium can be reached from Reading town centre using Reading Buses Greenwave services.
The proposed Green Park railway station, which would serve both the stadium and the adjacent Green Park Business Park, was put on hold on 27 October 2011. In April 2015, the plans were reapproved, with construction expected to start in October 2016 and a planned opening date in 2017. The new station will be just under a 1-mile (1.6 km) walk from the stadium.
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- Digby (2001, p. 46)
- Loader, Graham (1998). "READING 0 Norwich City 1". Hob Nob Anyone?. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
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- "Plans for stadium expansion will be submitted to the Council later this week" (Press release). Reading F.C. 22 January 2007. Archived from the original on 9 June 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
- "Committee Report by the Director of Environment Culture & Sport" (PDF). Reading Borough Council Planning Applications Committee. 23 May 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 April 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
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- "Wokingham & Emmbrook win Reading Senior Cup". Berkshire Media Group. Bracnell News. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- "Highest Attendances". Royals Record. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- "Buses/Trains for Madejski Stadium". Reading Football Club. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- "Football Buses - Times and fare information for the 2014/15 season". Reading Buses. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- "Rugby Buses". Reading Buses. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- "Greenwave Madjeski Stadium Park & Ride" (PDF). Reading Buses. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- Millward, David (27 October 2011). "Green Park station plan hits the buffers". Get Reading. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "Green Park railway station approved for Reading". News (BBC). 30 April 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Madejski Stadium.|
- Stadium information from Reading FC official website