Despite the fact that The Madejski Stadium was built on the site of a former waste dump and has methane vents on all sides of it, the ground itself is far from rubbish. It was opened in 1998 as a replacement for the club’s former ground, Elm Park. Despite the desire to regenerate their old ground in order to comply with the Taylor Report, it was decided that a new stadium would make more sense for the Berkshire club.
It cost the club over £50 million to build the new stadium, including three-quarters of a million being invested in a new pitch that has a mix of synthetic fibres and natural grass. The pitch is designed to be able to be used for either football or rugby matches, with London Irish also calling The Madejski home since 2000. The Aviva Premiership side followed the lead of Richmond FC, who used the stadium for a season between 1998 and 1999.
In 2021 the stadium was renamed The Select Car Leasing Stadium (catchy) because of sponsorship. The contract will last until 2031, although it’s hard to imagine the fans finding a shorthand for that mouthful.
|Madjeski Stadium Stats
|24184 (Reading v Everton (2012))
|105 x 68 (7140)
|RFC Holdings Ltd
|Reading F.C., Richmond F.C., London Irish
|Reading v Luton Town (22/08/1998)
|Aldershot Town, Oxford United, Swindon Town
|Reading Recreation Ground, Reading Cricket Ground, Coley Park, Caversham Cricket Ground, Elm Park
|Blue & White Hoops (Home) / White (Away)
|Select Car Leasing
|Dai Yongge and Dai Xiuli
|Trevor Senior (191)
|Martin Hicks (603)
Madjeski Stadium Photos
By http://www.flickr.com/photos/umdrums/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/umdrums/2999603567/) [CC BY-SA 2.0]
By http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenkey/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenkey/2806243565/) [CC BY 2.0]
Madjeski Stadium Seating Plan and Where to Sit
As is the case with the majority of new build stadiums, The Madejski is built in a ‘Bowl Style’, as opposed to the more common ‘English Style’ of four individual stands. There are still four individual sections to the ground, though, and here’s a little bit of detail on each:
- The Eamon Dolan Stand – This single-tiered structure can house just shy of 5000 supporters and houses the club’s ‘Fun Zone’. It is named after the Irish ex-footballer who managed Readings academy.
- The South Stand – This is another single-tiered stand and it normally houses the away fans.
- The East Stand – This is the final single-tiered stand and runs along the side of the pitch.
- The West Stand – The only two-tiered structure in the ground, this is considered to be the main stand at The Madejski. It houses the dugouts, hospitality boxes and the player’s tunnel.
Reading Ticket Prices
Understanding Reading Football Club’s ticket structure is simultaneously easy and really rather complicated. On the one had they don’t categorise their matches, though they do charge more or less depending on where in the ground you’d like to sit. What they also do is offer discounts for Members, charge more if you leave it until match day to buy your ticket, offer family prices for multiple tickets and offer four-match bundles if you want to purchase tickets for several matches at the same time. Phew!
Here are the cheapest and most expensive non-member match day prices for adults and concessions:
- Adults: £23 – £30
- Concessions: £18 – £22
How To Get Reading Tickets
As with most top clubs with large fanbases, the Reading FC official website is an excellent place to start if you’re hoping to buy tickets. You can also call the ticket office directly or drop in there in person.
Where to Buy
Getting To Madjeski Stadium
Reading is, in essence, a commuter town for people who don’t want to/can’t afford to live in London, so it’s not that difficult to get to. Here are some of the more standard routes you’ll probably want to think about:
Train – The closest train stop to The Madejski Stadium is Reading Railway Station, though it’s still about an hour’s walk away from the ground. Direct trains from London Paddington to Reading take between 25 minutes and an hour depending on where else they stop at, whilst from a Northern city like Manchester a direct train takes about three hours or it’ll take three and a half hours to head into London and then back out again.
Bus – There are no fewer than seventeen bus services that run from the Reading area towards The Madejski Stadium. If you know where you’re heading from then you can have a look at www.reading-buses.co.uk/football for more specific information.
Car – The Madejski Stadium is literally just off the M4, so as long as you can get there then you can get to the ground without much bother. From London, for example, you’ll want to take the A4 onto the M4 then come off at Junction 11 where you’ll see the ground. From the North you’ll want the M6 then the M42 onto the M40 before taking the A34. Exit that onto the M4 then follow the instructions from the South. The main thing to remember is M4, Junction 11.
By Air – Reading is close to London and London is served by a host of airports. The nearest one to the city is Heathrow Airport and from there you can either get a couple of trains or the bus to Reading itself.
Taxi – A taxi from Reading Railway Station to The Madejski Stadium will take something like ten minutes and cost you just under fifteen quid.
Parking Near Madjeski Stadium
There is some limited parking at the stadium itself that’s available for around £10, though the club recommends opting for one of its off-site car parks if you’re hoping to drive to The Madejski. Their sites include Foster Wheeler at Shinfield Park, Mereoak Park & Ride, the Greyhound / Speedway Stadium and Cornwallis on Bennet Road.
- Parking - Just Park
Madjeski Stadium Hotels
If you are particularly keen to get away from the bright lights of London then that’s fine, Reading has plenty to offer all of its own. Here are some of our favourite hotels for you to consider:
Pubs and Bars Near Madjeski Stadium
Much like with the hotels, you’re going to get the most choice for your drinking needs if you stay in London and commute to Berkshire for the game. If you want to know where the best pre-match places for a pint are in the centre of Reading, though, then here are some of our tips:
The World Turned Upside Down
The World Turned Upside Down
The views from pretty much everywhere in the ground are superb, with excellent legroom also on offer for all. The ground does lack a little bit of personality but it’s functional and you’ll have access to everything you’d expect on the concourses. There are kiosks where you can buy programmes, drinks and food before and during the game.
- Programme: £3
- Pie: £3.9
- Cup of tea: £2.3
- Beer: £5
There are a number of different lounges at The Madejski Stadium that offer hospitality, with each one promising its own individual experience. Here we’ll outline some of the most exciting ones and what you can expect to get from them:
- The Royals Lounge – Here you’ll receive private table dining, a three-course meal with complimentary drinks, refreshments at both half-time and full-time plus a reserved car parking space and premium seating for the game itself.
- The Premier Suite – This is a pitch-facing lounge that offers a two-course meal before the game, half-time refreshments, access to a bar and padded seats in The South Stand.
- The Trophy Room – Why not dine in the exciting surroundings of the club’s trophy room? You’ll sit on a shared table whilst you enjoy a two-course carvery meal, half-time and full-time refreshments, matchday program and premier seating near to the Director’s Box.
- Club 106 – A relaxed newly refurbished suite with fantastic pitchside views, promising a single course bowl food taster menu, bar facility, matchday entertainment, plus VIP entrance and seats in the North stand.
- The Haygarth Lounge – A lot like your typical pub but you get the added benefit of VIP padded seats in the South stand. There is also the option to buy food on site and a dedicated room host to keep things fun.
The Royal Berkshire Conference Centre is based inside The Madejski Stadium, so it’s fair to say that there’s some dedicated private hire options at Reading’s home ground that will blow you away. Whether you’re looking to host something small like a private dinner or a business meeting, or something much larger like a conference or an exhibition, The RBCC have got you covered. They even allow their executive boxes to be hired by the hour, should you wish to host a quick meeting in exciting surroundings.
Stadium Tours & Museum
The club runs stadium tours on a semi-regular basis, so it’s worth checking-in with the official channels to see if there’s one running on the day you’re going to be in town; if there’s not and you give them a ring then they might put one on for you. If there is then you’ll be treated to a real behind-the-scenes treat, taking in the dressing rooms, the player’s lounge, the tunnel, and the dug-out. You’ll also get to see what the view is like from the Director’s Box and you’ll be able to sit where the manager sits when he’s addressing the press.
Tours cost £12 for adults, with concessions paying £10 and juniors paying £6. It’s £2 cheaper if you’re a season ticket holder. The club doesn’t currently have a museum, but the tour does take in the trophy room where you’ll be able to see their two Championship trophies as well as the club’s honours.
Reading Football Club is often known to their fans as The Royals, owing to the fact that the club is based in the Royal County of Berkshire. It’s perhaps a slightly better nickname than The Biscuitmen, the moniker that the club had previously thanks to the town’s association with the company Huntley and Palmers. Interestingly, the club is one of the oldest in England, having been formed in 1871, but only joined the Football League in 1920 and didn’t play in the country’s top league until 2006.
Reading have a couple of somewhat bizarre statistical claims to their name. They hold the record for the largest number of successive league wins at the start of a season thanks to the thirteen games in a row they won at the beginning of the 1985-1986 campaign. They also gained the record for the most number of points won in a professional league season when they won 106 during their 2005-2006 Championship campaign.
Their relegation at the end of the 2022-2023 season saw them back in the third tier of English football for the first time in 20 years.
Madjeski Stadium History
Despite being the venue that saw the club play in the top-flight for the first time ever, The Madejski Stadium doesn’t actually have a whole heap of history to speak of. The majority of Reading’s life as a football club – 102 years, in fact – was spent playing at Elm Park. They wanted to stay there originally but realised it would cost too much money to bring the ground up to the standard required to comply with the Taylor Report, drawn up in the aftermath of the Hillsborough Disaster.
The Madejski Stadium took its name from the club’s long-term owner and chairman, Sir John Madejski. As well as hosting Reading matches and rugby games for London Irish, the ground has also been used as the location for a number of England Under-21 internationals. At one point they had lost just one of those games and won another three with a combined score of 12-1. In 2006 it was used as the venue for a charity match of celebrities and legends from England and Germany to raise money for The Bobby Moore Fund and The British Red Cross.
The Madejski Stadium has the ability to be expanded to house around 37,000 spectators, with numerous attempts having been made to achieve this when the club were in the Premier League. Their subsequent relegation meant that these plans were put on hold, with the hierarchy unlikely to carry out the expansion until Reading have established themselves regularly in the top-flight, and given that they are now in League 1, that could be never.