Wednesday, 29 September 2010


I took the opportunity to visit Reading for the minor Reading League cup final on Friday 14th May 2010, Woodcote/Stoke Row beating Wokingham & Embrook 'A' by the lone goal of the match. For big new ground, opened in August 1998, it has a bit of it's own character, rather than four plain, 'square' sides. It is name the Madejski Stadium, after the Reading owner & benefactor Sir John Madejski.

The only 'downside' really was that it's a fair hike back to Reading station, around three miles or so. There are buses on First Team match days, but for a small game like this it was Shank's Pony on the way back.

The ground is also the home for London Irish rugby union club, despite the fact Reading is around 40 miles from central London!

This is the first view of the ground from the bus stop before the match, by the car parks.

To the right of the above photo, across more parking areas, is some sort of Club indoor sports centre.

Another look at the stadium from the large parking area. The built up part nearest to us is a hotel, by the ground.

The hotel is also named after the 'modest' owner!

This is the game I'm here for, only one set of turnstiles open, unsurprisingly.

This tells you who & what is based here.

I had to keep my money in my pocket, as the megastore was megashut.

On the wall a plaque remembering one of their true legends.

We continue around the outside of the ground, towards our entrance.

On the wall are memorial/commemorative plaques, which are becoming quite common at larger doubt all 'for the right price'!

I don't know when this wall wan inaugriated, but looking at the name of it, I would hazard a guess at 2006/07, which was the first of their two years in the Premier League.

Here is a detail of it.

It continues along the back of the stand.

More sections of it here in the next two snaps.

The usual things that are not allowed. I'll pretend I never saw the 'camera' one!

Almost turning the corner now, with the club crest prominent high up.

This section of the wall must be specifically to honour former fans who has gone to 'the great football stadium in the sky'.

No megastore for the rugby club!

And a portakabin for the Supporters' Trust.

Here we pass some sort of executive entrance. I didn't actually note what it was.

Some of the many ticket windows.

At last! Here wo go into the ground, pay on the gate.

A veritable bargain, & the programme was only ten bob.

Here are the turnstiles from the other side.

A look down the concourse, bland brickwork at first glance.

Bookies on site for their first team games.

A fixture poster gives a bit of colour.

Plenty of catering outlets, only one open tonight.

but the best bit, to hide te blandness I mentioned, were posters of great Reading legends on the walls. Here are some of them, the first being Steve Death.

The man with the plaque outside, Maurice Evans.

Bobby Williams.

& Gordon Cumming. I'm sure there were many more, I was a bit disappointed not to see one for their all-time cult hero Robin Friday, but i'm sure he was there somewhere.

A nice welcome sign, seems they forgot to have any dustbins though!

Only one side of the ground was open tonight, the West Stand, and here we look over to the main East Stand.

To our right is the South Stand.

With the East Stand to our left.

I move upwards, to take snaps of our stand, looking one way...

& then the other.

Climbing to the back row this is the view outside, which shows how high up we are.

And from the rear, where there is a camera platform, we look across the pitch.

And again to the North Stand...

Plus the South.

Moving down a number of rows we look over the pitch once more.

In the far corner, to the left, is this corporate area.

While opposite is the tunnel.

Tonight we are restricted to the centre area of our stand. But there is only a strip of tape blocking off the rest of the stand, so I take my chances & ignore it.
Here we see the North Stand close up.

And from this top corner we see down over the stadium.

Before turning & looking along the West Stand.

A similar shot, but a slightly different angle, to get more of the other stands in.

Moving down toward the front it's still the Wst Stand.

At the back of this corner is a large electronic screen, not in use tonight.

Here we glance down the lower rows of the West Stand.

And look over the playing surface, pitchside.

Here we are at the bottom corner of the North Stand.

at the front there is one of the areas for disabled supporters.

I'm now up behind the goal, I continue snapping, unaware I've been spotted by security.

Here we look down the pitch, from behind the goal.

And see, for the first time, the name Madejski in white lettering on the seats of the West Stand.

These seats, up the steps, are for stewards to sit facing the crowd, not the pitch, I am guessing.

Now I'm on my way back to my designated area, & notice another wheelchair area at the front. Before I get there I am stopped by someone who says they are 'head of scurity' in a bright flurescent jacket, who patronises & bores me about his jobsworth regulations. I bite my tongue, as I don't want to get kicked out before the match & am allowed to stay, after giving him my utmost assurance that I won't move from my seat, & that I will take no more photographs. He also makes sure that they are for my own use, & not for publication anywhere! Tosser! ;-)

Dear oh dear! Health & safety gone mad! Who would have thought a football ground?

Back in the centre of the West Stand we look over to the 'posh' seats opposite.

Oi! Put that camera away! It's not allowed!

There's a fair crowd here, not sure exactly how many, but I'd guess around 500 or so.

A few action shots follow. I was well pleased with this, as they were zoomed in for quite a distance, & the first time I had used my new camera at a match.

The match is almost over now, & the floodlights along the roof of the stands are now on.

Here come the medals...

The crowd show their appreciation.

Time for the man on the microphone to start the presentations.

Almost there...

The losers not smiling much.

Grrr! One of the things I hate in 'modern' football-little brats as accessories at cup finals!

Now for the winners...more grins here!

The cup aloft.

"Cham-pee-on-ees, cham-pee-on-ees!"


Anonymous said...

This ain't right. Surely you were actually seated in the East stand
and were looking at the West Stand - cos Madejski is painted on the East Seats ans the west Stand has an upper balcony. So your North stand pictures are actually South stand - for visiting supporters.

Anonymous said...

Definitely sat in the East Stand.

Rabbler said...

Humble apologies!
In my defence (if there is one!) it can be quite mentally tiring sorting out a post and writing it, one this size takes several hours from start to finish, I was working out what was what from the ground diragram on the Reading website, & clearly got it wrong!
thank you for your correction. Whether I ever get round to changing the post is another story, as your comments would make no sense then..& at heart I'm wuite lazy too! ;-)