Date: 23rd March 2012 at 1:45pm
Written by:

SeasideEssexXile tells you all you need to know ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Reading.

The Madjeski Stadium – Reading

By SeasideEssexXile

It`s never dull being a Blackpool fan. First we give Brighton their first league defeat of 2012, then we share the spoils with Leicester in a 6 goal thriller. The top 2 are our next 2 games, and it`s too tight to call. Every point will matter and this is potentially the hardest game left for us, it`s going to be tough but if we produce a Cardiff-esque performance it`ll send the right message out to those around us and at the right time.

ow To get There

M55 then the M6 South. At J8 take the M42 then at J7a join the M5 then J3a join the M40. Leave the 40 at J9 and take the third exit on to the A34, join the M4.

From the M4:

The Ground can be approached from the A33 Reading Relief Road which links to the M4 Motorway.

Exit the M4 at Junction 11, heading for Reading on the A33. At the first roundabout, take the 2nd left onto the Reading Relief Road, passing the Stadium on your left. At the next roundabout (past McDonalds) take the first left onto Northern Way and follow signs to car parks.

Red Car Park at the Madejski Stadium

There is limited car park availability at the Stadium in the Red Car Park. The cost of parking is £8 and operates on a ‘first come first serve basis.

There is also some parking at the Old Depot by the Courage Brewery on the A33/Imperial Way roundabout at a cost of £7 per car. Passing the Madejski on your left, follow the A33 for about half a mile, then turn back on yourself, passing Bennet Road on your left, and then take the next left into Acre Road. You will see sign ‘match parking’, where there is a large warehouse on the left. It is gated with security. It is then only a short walk to the ground from here.

Sat Navvers – RG2 0FL

For the Virgin lovers amongst us:

Get the train to Reading mainline station and then the No 79 ‘Football Special’ bus. The buses leave just down from the station, commencing at 1pm for Saturday afternoon games. Once you come out of the main station entrance turn right and they are about 200 yards down the road on the opposite side – the fare is £3.50 return for adults and £1.75 for children and normally takes about fifteen minutes to get to the ground. The ground is about three miles away from Reading Station, leave the station, head straight up the road in front of you, crossing over Friar Street onto Queen Victoria Street and heading towards the town centre. Upon reaching Broad Street, you will find yourself opposite the John Lewis store. Cross and head down a narrow passageway (Chain Street) which runs down the right hand side of John Lewis. Soon, you reach a churchyard, which you can cross, bearing right, to the corner of Gun Street and Bridge Street. Cross to the other side of Bridge Street and continue down, turning right into Fobney Street. At the end here, you will soon encounter a couple of blue footpath/cyclepath signs, which point the way to the Madejski Stadium. These will lead you down the left hand footpath alongside the busy A329, which becomes the A33 after about 1200 yards. Keep following this road and eventually you will come to a roundabout. Take the road ahead and continue walking along the roadside. You will briefly walk along a dirt track by the roadside as the A33 crosses a waterway, before walking down the bank to the towpath. The towpath now continues straight ahead towards the stadium, still following the blue cycle path signs. You can’t miss it from here, but it is still at least a further 15 minute walk away’.

The Stadium

Madejski Stadium was opened on in August 1998 at a total cost of more than £50m.

That a difference from the old Elm Park.

There`s the Royal Berkshire Conference Centre and the Millennium Madejski Hotel, as well as the £1m Indoor Training Centre.

Current capacity is 24,200. The Club have received planning permission to increase the capacity of the stadium to 38,000. This would involve further extending three sides of the stadium (the West Stand would remain as it is) and replacing the roof and would take around three years to complete. This would be achieved by first by increasing the size of the East Stand, adding around 7,000 additional seats. The following Summer the North Stand would be extended adding another 3,500 seats and a year later a similar construction would happen at the South end of the stadium. However, it is unclear when work will commence.

The stadium staged its first international sporting event in September 1999, when England’s under 21 side gave minnows Luxembourg a 5-0 thumping in front of a crowd approaching 20,000. Since then, Reading has played host to more under 21 internationals as well as a memorable under 20 fixture against Germany in February, when local boy Nathan Tyson capped a memorable debut with two stunning strikes to give England victory.

Rugby League World Cup action has also taken place at Madejski Stadium, with New Zealand thrashing the Cook Islands in the autumn of 2000, while rugby union is regularly on the menu, with English Premiership side London Irish playing all their home games here.

Away fans are located in one end of the stadium, in the Fosters Lager South Stand, where up to 4,300 can be accommodated (although the normal allocation is 2,100).

There To Drink

There are no pubs near the ground, but there is a Holiday Inn about a 15 minute walk away. The hotel had a small bar inside it, but then attached had a larger Irish themed separate bar area, called Callaghans. Pass the Holiday Inn on your left turn left onto Basingstoke Road and walk up over a hill to find a pub on the right called ‘The World turned upside down.

Alternatively drive to Three Mile Cross where there are a couple of god pubs to be found. Come off the motorway at J11 and head away from the stadium (signposted A33 Basingstoke). After 200 yards take the first exit at the roundabout into Three Mile Cross.

Ale is on sale inside the ground.

Plod & Stewards

It`s the Met?.. Stewards were no problem on my last visit.

Fear Factor Rating – 1

The loan transfer window has closed and we`ve brought back a hero from our last Championship season in Dobbie. Nobody knows how precious a good run in is than him. Here`s hoping that he hasn`t forgotten to bring his shooting boots with him and that come 5pm on Saturday we`re dreaming of reliving those memories of less than 2 years ago.

nwards + Upwards