Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Friday November 20 2009
The Madjeski Stadium - Reading
Don`t you just love this Championship malarkey - another 2 week break due to 'international duties.` Never used to mean much to us, but this is a measure of exactly how far we have come as a team. The current squad boasts a number of players that play for their country, and with that comes a higher profile for us. 'Little old Blackpool`, who cares what people say, let them keep thinking of us as just that and let`s hope we can keep proving them wrong. Saturday sees a return to action to a club who not too long ago were holding Man Ure to draw at Old Trafford on their opening league game of the season. Reading are considered to be one of the 'bigger` clubs in this division and the Majedski Stadium is certainly worthy of the top flight status.
The Madjeski is 11 years old, and replaced Elm park as the home of Reading. Now for those who never went to Elm Park you missed a real treat. Refreshments at half time? The old bill would open the exit gate, line the road and you promptly went into the local corner shop for your crisps & chocolate. That was the time when grounds had real character.
Now Mr Madjeski isn`t a Charles Bronson character, but the founder of Auto Trader. He took over Reading in 1990 and built the ground he simply named after himself.
It has a capacity of 24,161, with plans to develop to 38,000. The ground hosts a hotel, a radio station as well as being the home to the London Irish RU team.
We`ll be sat behind one goal in the South Stand. Normal allocation for away fans is half capacity - 2,327. I`d expect us to take around the 750 mark, as a lot of fans won`t have ticked this stadium off last season due to it being played midweek in December. Tickets and Turnstile Gates 9/10. I ticked this ground of my list last season and the experience was, despite the result and the performance of the referee - Mr Singh, on the whole a pleasant one. Plenty of leg room, the view was excellent and the facilities as you would expect decent.
How To Get There
It`s a bit of a trek, and be warned if you park on the car park by the ground
You will still be waiting to get off it a long time after the game has finished.
It`s the usual M55, M6 South. Still lots of 50mph works going on, until at least the end of Jan so factor that into cutting down on your drinking time.
M6 toll, then onto the M42. Leave the 42 at J3a heading towards London. Join the M40. Leave the M40 at J4, signposted High Wycombe. Onto the A404 bearing right. After 5 miles leave the A404(M) take third available exit off roundabout on to M4 (Slip Road) at junction 8/9 towards Reading.
At junction 11 leave motorway towards Reading (Cen & S).
Take third available exit off roundabout on to A33 (Basingstoke Rd), continue for 0.2 miles. Take second available exit off roundabout on to A33, continue for 0.2 miles. Take second available exit off roundabout on to A33, continue for 0.3 miles. Take first available exit off roundabout on to South Oak Way. Take second available exit off roundabout on to Hurst Way, continue for 0.1 miles. Follow Biscuit Way straight on, continue for 0.1 miles, and you`re there.
For the satnavvers - RG2 0FL.
For the Virgin Lovers amongst us - The nearest rail station is Reading.
From there, simply take a Fasttrack Park & Ride green bus that takes you direct to the Stadium. Average journey time less than 10 minutes.
For those flying via Samm Airways - The nearest airport is London Heathrow. From there, you can take the RailAir bus direct to Reading train station and then a park & ride bus.
Where to Drink
As with all newer grounds the paying punters drinking concerns registered minus 4 on a scale of 1-10. About a 15 minute walk away there is a Holiday Inn It has a small bar inside it, but then attached had a larger Irish themed separate bar area, called Callaghans. Passing the Holiday Inn on the left, go left onto Basingstoke Road and walked up over a hill to find a pub on the right called 'The World turned upside down.' For those getting off the train 'The Three Guineas on the station approach is the usual away pub.
Last season we drove away from the ground and pulled up at a local boozer off the dual carriageway.
Ale is on sale inside the ground.
Plod & Stewards
This is a nothing game 'fan wise` to either (wait until a week Monday ;-) ) and with no history between the fans this should be a very low key affair. I found the stewarding here last season no problem at all.
Fear Factor Rating - 2
16 league games since a last home win for the Royals, now there`s tempting fate. Our away record should read better than a single victory. Holloway has recognised this and has suggested that he may have to adapt our formation for away games, last season our record on our travels was fantastic and for those there at Reading the defeat left a bitter taste in our mouths. Down to 10 men, the referee cost us at least a point. Here`s hoping that come 5pm on Saturday the only Singhing we`re doing begins with "eei eei eei o, up the football…….."
Date:Friday November 20 2009
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