Madejski Stadium

Coordinates: 51°25′20″N 0°58′58″W / 51.42222°N 0.98278°W / 51.42222; -0.98278
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Select Car Leasing Stadium
The Mad Stad[1]
Aerial view of the stadium in 2014
Full nameSelect Car Leasing Stadium
LocationJunction 11
Coordinates51°25′20″N 0°58′58″W / 51.42222°N 0.98278°W / 51.42222; -0.98278
Public transitNational Rail Reading Green Park
Record attendance24,184 (Reading v. Everton; 17 November 2012)
23,709 (London Irish v. London Wasps; 16 March 2008)
Field size105m x 68m (football) [3]
SurfaceSIS Grass
Opened22 August 1998
Construction cost£50m (£94m in 2021)
Reading (1998–present)
Reading Women (2020–present)
Rugby Union
London Irish (2000–2020)
Richmond (1998–1999)

The Madejski Stadium (/məˈdski/), currently named the Select Car Leasing Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is a football stadium in Reading. It is the home of Reading Football Club, who play in EFL League One. It also provides the finish for the Reading Half Marathon. It is an all-seater bowl stadium with a capacity of 24,161 and is located close to the M4 motorway and Reading Green Park railway station. The West Stand contains the Voco Reading Hotel.

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


In January 1990, the Taylor Report made all-seater stadiums compulsory in the top two divisions of English football for the 1994–95 season. Having played in the second tier of the English league several times before, Reading were champions of Division Two in 1994, and were promoted to Division One. 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.[4] The location of a closed landfill, the site was purchased for £1, on the condition that the club develop the A33 relief road.[5] Construction of the new stadium, which was undertaken by Birse Group,[6] was underway by 1997, and the last competitive match at Elm Park took place on 3 May 1998 against Norwich City, with Reading losing 1–0, having already been relegated to Division Two.[7]

Reading began the 1998–99 season at the Madejski Stadium.[4] It was opened on 22 August 1998 when Reading beat Luton Town 3–0, with Grant Brebner scoring the first goal at the stadium. Following the death of academy manager Eamonn Dolan in 2016, the North Stand was renamed as a memorial to him.[8]

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,[9] to make a planning application to extend the ground to between 37,000 and 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.[10]

On 24 May 2007, it was announced that planning permission had been granted to extend the stadium to a capacity of 36,900.[11] 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.[12]

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.

In July 2021, at the beginning of the 150th anniversary season, it was announced that the Madejski Stadium had been rebranded as the Select Car Leasing Stadium for the next ten years. In honour of Sir John Madejski, the East Stand was renamed as The Sir John Madejski Stand.[13]

Structure and facilities[edit]

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

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] It is built on the site of a landfill site and is surrounded by methane vents.[citation needed]

The Eamonn Dolan Stand capacity is 4,946 including 25 spaces for wheelchairs.[14] Although in use for all Reading matches, the stand was normally closed for London Irish and only opened in exceptional circumstances where demand required.

The South Stand has a capacity of 4,350 including 29 wheelchair spaces and contains an area for visiting supporters. The initial allocation visiting teams received up until the 2022–23 season was 2,127 and is the half of the stand joining onto the West Stand. The other half of the South Stand is Club 1871, a home fans member area, which encourages safe standing to create a matchday atmosphere. Under the terms of their 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. London Irish sold season tickets for South Stand between 2008 and 2014–15. Since 2015, with falling attendance at London Irish, the South Stand remained closed for rugby and only opened if required.

The Sir John Madejski Stand (East) has a capacity of 7,286 including 18 spaces for wheelchairs.[14] The stand also contains the stadium's video screen which is located in the corner adjoining the South Stand. The stand was open for all London Irish fixtures only until the end of the 2015–16 season and again for the 2017–18 and 2019–20 seasons.

The Voco Reading Hotel, pictured when still known as the Millennium Madejski

The West Stand, the stadium's main stand, has a capacity of 7,579 including 15 wheelchair spaces and contains a lower and an upper tier. The upper level does not overhang the lower tier and the executive boxes are located between the two tiers. The tunnel and dugouts are located in this stand. During the 2016–17 and 2018–19 seasons, the West Stand was the only stand in regular use for London Irish home games. The outside of the stand contains the Voco Reading hotel, a member of InterContinental Hotels Group's Voco chain]. From the 2023–24 season the initial allocation for visiting fans will be located in the upper west corner.

International football[edit]

The stadium has hosted five England under-21 internationals. These were as follows.

Year Date Opponents Result Attendance Part of
1999 3 September  Luxembourg 5–0 18,094 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
2013 5 September  Moldova 1–0 5,268 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group 1

An England B match was also held at the stadium.[15]

Year Date Home Result Away Attendance Part of
2006 25 May England England 1–2  Belarus 22,032 International Friendly

Other international matches.

Year Date Team 1 Result Team 2 Attendance Part of
2003 7 September  Australia 2–1  Jamaica 8,050 International Friendly
2013 7 September England Reading 0–2  Oman Club v Country Friendly

Rugby union[edit]

London Irish playing London Wasps in August 2011

Although a designated football stadium, the stadium was used regularly since opening for rugby union. Richmond were the first rugby team to become Reading's tenants, 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 stadium in 2000 after a year of ground sharing with Harlequins 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 stadium until 2026.[16] However, they were to leave after the 2019–20 season.[17] London Irish played their last game at the stadium on 1 March 2020 when they were defeated by Wasps. The COVID-19 pandemic had disrupted the season causing a premature end to their tenancy and forcing them to return to the Stoop for the remainder of the elongated season.

Irish saw their average crowds grow to more than 11,100 after 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 (then London Wasps) on 16 March 2008.[18] This record stood until 19 September 2009, when Leicester Tigers opened their new stand to increase capacity to 24,000.

In addition to London Irish home matches, the stadium has also hosted several knock out phases of European cup rugby where a neutral ground was required or where teams were required to play at a larger capacity ground.

Year Date Home Score Away Attendance Competition
2000 20 May NEC Harlequins England 42–33 France Narbonne 11,211 2000–01 European Challenge Cup Final
2003 25 May Bath England 30–48 England London Wasps 18,074 2002–03 Parker Pen Challenge Cup Final
2004 22 May Montferrand France 26–27 England NEC Harlequins 13,123 2003–04 Parker Pen Challenge Cup Final
2016 23 April Saracens England 24–17 England Wasps 16,820 2015–16 European Champions Cup Semi-final


Besides football, the Madejski Stadium can be configured to hold other events, including concerts. On 3 July 2006, the Red Hot Chili Peppers played the Madejski Stadium as part of their Stadium Arcadium World Tour.[19]

Other uses[edit]

The Madejski was selected as the venue for a charity friendly football match on 3 May 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, in front of a crowd of 20,000.[20]

The stadium is also the final venue for the Reading Senior Cup.[21]

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 Attendance Part of
2000 2 November New Zealand  84–10  Cook Islands 3,982 2000 Rugby League World Cup Group 2

From February 2021 onwards, the stadium was used by the NHS as a mass vaccination centre as part of the nationwide vaccine rollout, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.[22]


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.[23]

Highest attendances[edit]

Opponent Competition Date Attendance Notes
1 Everton 2012–13 Premier League 17 November 2012 24,184 Stadium's stated capacity at the time was 24,242
2 West Ham United 2012–13 Premier League 29 December 2012 24,183 Stadium's stated capacity at the time was 24,242
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

Attendances by season[edit]

Season Reading[24] Richmond[25][26]
Average attendance[a] Highest attendance Average attendance[a][b] Highest attendance[b]
Division Ave. Date Opponent Competition Att.[27] Division Ave. Date Opponent Competition Att.
1998–99 Division Two 11,262 (Increase16%) 27 March Manchester City Division Two 20,055 Premiership 7,205 (Increase) 26 December London Irish Premiership 9,621
1999–2000 Division Two 8,985 (Decrease20%) 7 August Bristol City Division Two 13,348 London Irish
2000–01 Division Two 12,647 (Increase41%) 16 May Wigan Athletic Division Two play-offs 22,034 Premiership 6,305 (Increase) 17 March Northampton Saints Premiership 12,037
2001–02 Division Two 14,115 (Increase12%) 13 April Peterborough United Division Two 22,151 Premiership 7,254 (Increase) 16 March Bristol Premiership 12,873
2002–03 Division One 16,011 (Increase13%) 14 May Wolverhampton Wanderers Division One play-offs 24,060 Premiership 9,916 (Increase) 15 March Harlequins Premiership 18,585
2003–04 Division One 15,095 (Decrease6%) 3 December Chelsea League Cup 24,107 Premiership 10,571 (Increase) 21 March Bath Premiership 20,840
2004–05 Championship 17,169 (Increase14%) 22 January Ipswich Town Championship 23,203 Premiership 10,312 (Decrease) 26 March Gloucester Premiership 17,111
2005–06 Championship 20,207 (Increase18%) 10 February Southampton Championship 23,845 Premiership 10,953 (Increase) 25 March Sale Sharks Premiership 19,884
2006–07 Premier League 23,829 (Increase18%) 10 February Aston Villa Premiership 24,122 Premiership 10,731 (Decrease) 18 March London Wasps Premiership 22,648
2007–08 Premier League 23,585 (Decrease1%) 19 January Manchester United Premier League 24,135 Premiership 9,950 (Decrease) 16 March London Wasps Premiership 23,709
2008–09 Championship 19,936 (Decrease16%) 3 May Birmingham City Championship 23,879 Premiership 11,378 (Increase) 22 March Northampton Saints Premiership 21,295
2009–10 Championship 17,408 (Decrease13%) 2 January Liverpool FA Cup 23,656 Premiership 14,303 (Increase) 28 March Sale Sharks Premiership 21,535
2010–11 Championship 17,682 (Increase2%) 27 November Leeds United Championship 23,677 Premiership 10,339 (Decrease) 26 March Exeter Chiefs Premiership 20,011
2011–12 Championship 19,219 (Increase9%) 10 December West Ham United Championship 24,026 Premiership 10,398 (Increase) 25 March Leicester Tigers Premiership 20,905
2012–13 Premier League 23,862 (Increase24%) 17 November Everton Premier League 24,184 Premiership 9,471 (Decrease) 23 March Worcester Warriors Premiership 19,523
2013–14 Championship 19,171 (Decrease20%) 3 May Burnley Championship 23,335 Premiership 9,243 (Decrease) 22 March Bath Premiership 22,361
2014–15 Championship 17,022 (Decrease11%) 16 March Bradford City FA Cup 22,908 Premiership 8,943 (Decrease) 28 March Newcastle Falcons Premiership 15,731
2015–16 Championship 17,285 (Increase2%) 11 March Crystal Palace FA Cup 23,110 Premiership 8,749 (Decrease) 20 March Gloucester Premiership 17,752
2016–17 Championship 17,505 (Increase1%) 1 April Leeds United Championship 23,055 Championship 4,005 (Decrease) 18 March Cornish Pirates Championship 11,671
2017–18 Championship 16,656 (Decrease5%) 23 December Burton Albion Championship 21,771 Premiership 7,748 (Increase) 24 March Gloucester Premiership 15,274
2018–19 Championship 14,991 (Decrease10%) 22 April West Bromwich Albion Championship 17,255 Championship 3,770 (Decrease) 23 March Doncaster Knights Championship 10,106
2019–20 Championship 11,969 (Decrease) 26 November Leeds United Championship 16,918 Premiership 4,535 (Decrease) 22 December Bath Premiership 9,259
Reading Women
2020–21 Championship 240 (Decrease) 5 December,
9 December,
16 December
Nottingham Forest,
Birmingham City,
Norwich City
Championship 2,000 Women's Super League 81 (Decrease) 13 December Manchester United Women's Super League 623
2021–22 Championship 12,852 (Increase) 12 February Coventry City Championship 22,692 Women's Super League 790 (Increase) 12 September Arsenal Women's Super League 1,127
2022–23 Championship 13,449 (Increase) 29 April Wigan Athletic Championship 21,919 Women's Super League 2,286 (Increase) 27 May Chelsea Women's Super League 6,305


  1. ^ a b The average attendance figure includes league matches only.
  2. ^ a b Since 2004, London Irish have played a Premiership home match at Twickenham Stadium, London as part of the London Double Header. These matches are removed from the highest and average attendance figures to show only the highest and average attendances at the Madejski Stadium.


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.[28][29]

When no matches are taking place, the stadium can be reached from Reading town centre using Reading Buses Greenwave services.[30][31]

The stadium is also close to Reading Green Park railway station, which also serves the adjacent Green Park Business Park. It is on the Reading–Basingstoke line and opened in May 2023.[32] The new station is just under a 1-mile (1.6 km) walk from the stadium.


  1. ^ Low, Jonathan (23 September 2016). "Reading FC: Plans to expand Madejski Stadium are still on the agenda". getreading. Archived from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Select Car Leasing Stadium information". Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Stadium pitch has been lengthened". 2 July 2007. Archived from the original on 22 August 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  4. ^ a b "The Home Grounds of Reading FC". 1871 – The Ultimate Reading FC Website. 2003. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  5. ^ Digby (2001, p. 46)
  6. ^ "Birse to build Hull stadium". Leisure Opportunities. 25 September 2001. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  7. ^ Loader, Graham (1998). "Reading 0 Norwich City 1". Hob Nob Anyone?. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  8. ^ "The Eamonn Dolan Stand". Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Royals ready to extend Madejski". BBC Sport. 21 September 2006. Retrieved 28 January 2007.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "Anton Zingarevich makes Reading Premier League transfer list". BBC Sport. BBC. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  13. ^ "Welcome to the Select Car Leasing Stadium!".
  14. ^ a b,,10306~311866,00.html[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ BBC Sport website, 25 May 2006
  16. ^ "London Irish make long term commitment to Madejski Stadium". BBC. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  17. ^ "Back in Town — The Irish are Returning to London!". London Irish. 18 December 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  18. ^ "Walder inspires Wasps win". Sky Sports. 11 January 2008.
  19. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers Setlist". Setlist FM. 3 July 2006. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  20. ^ "Germany in 1966-style charity win". BBC News. 3 May 2006. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  21. ^ "Wokingham & Emmbrook win Reading Senior Cup". Berkshire Media Group. Bracnell News. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  22. ^ "Mass vaccination centre opens at Madejski Stadium | Healthwatch Reading". Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  23. ^ "Highest Attendances". Royals Record. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  24. ^ "Reading FC". Archived from the original on 19 June 2018. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  25. ^ "Statbunker » Gallagher Premiership 18/19 » Home attendance". Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  26. ^ "Statbunker » Championship 18/19 » Home attendance". Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  27. ^ "Reading FC Match Reports". Hob Nob Anyone?. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  28. ^ "Buses/Trains for Madejski Stadium". Reading Football Club. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  29. ^ "Football Buses - Times and fare information for the 2014/15 season". Reading Buses. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  30. ^ "Rugby Buses". Reading Buses. Archived from the original on 22 June 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  31. ^ "Greenwave Madjeski Stadium Park & Ride" (PDF). Reading Buses. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 January 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  32. ^ "Breath-taking aerial footage shows entirety of new Reading Green Park Station". Network Rail. 10 November 2022. Retrieved 6 January 2023.

External links[edit]

  • [1] from Reading FC official website