Madejski Stadium

Madeski Stadium
The Mad Stad[1]
Aerial view of Madejski's Stadium in 2014
Full name Madejski Stadium
Location Junction 11
Coordinates 51°25′20″N 0°58′58″W / 51.42222°N 0.98278°W / 51.42222; -0.98278Coordinates: 51°25′20″N 0°58′58″W / 51.42222°N 0.98278°W / 51.42222; -0.98278
Owner RFC Holdings Ltd
Capacity 24,161[2]
Record attendance 24,184 (Reading vs Everton; 17 November 2012)
Field size 105m x 68m (football) [3]
106m x 68m (rugby union)
Surface SIS Grass
Opened 22 August 1998
Construction cost £50m (£81m in 2016)
Reading (1998–present)
London Irish (2000–present)
Richmond Rugby (1998–99)

The Madejski /məˈdski/ is a football stadium located in Reading, Berkshire, England. It is the home of Reading Football Club playing in the Football League Championship and the rugby union club London Irish as tenants. It also provides the finish for the Reading Half Marathon. The stadium is named after Reading's chairman Sir John Madejski. It is an all-seater bowl stadium with a capacity of 24,161 and is located close to the M4 motorway. It is built on the site of a former household waste dump and is surrounded by methane vents. The West Stand contains the Millennium Madejski Hotel.

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


In 1994, the Taylor Report made all-seater stadiums compulsory in the top two divisions (the Premier League and the First Division). Reading were champions of the Second Division in 1994, and were promoted to the first division. 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 team develop the A33 relief road.[5] The last competitive match at Elm Park took place on 3 May 1998 against Norwich City, with Reading losing 0–1.[6]

Reading began the 1998–99 season at the Madejski Stadium.[4] It was opened on 22 August 1998 when Luton Town were beaten 3–0 with Grant Brebner having the honour of scoring the first ever goal at the stadium. Plans for the stadium had first been unveiled some three years previously, when chairman John Madejski had decided that Elm Park was unsuitable for redevelopment as an all-seater stadium and that relocation to a new site was necessary. Following the death of academy manager Eamonn Dolan in 2016, Reading announced that the North Stand would now be renamed The Eamonn Dolan Stand.[7]

Structure and facilities

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]

The Eamonn Dolan Stand capacity is said to be 4,946 including 25 spaces for wheelchairs.[8] Although in use for all Reading matches, the stand is normally closed for London Irish and only opened in exceptional circumstances where demand requires.

The South Stand has a capacity of 4,350 including 29 wheelchair spaces and is where visiting supporters sit for Reading games. The initial allocation visiting teams receive is 2,327 and is the half of the stand joining onto the East Stand. Under the terms of the 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 2014, with falling attendance at London Irish, the South stands remained closed for rugby and only opened if required.

The East Stand has a capacity of 7,286 including 18 spaces for wheelchairs.[8] 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 from the 2017-18 season

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 season the West Stand was the only stand in regular use for London Irish home games. The outside of the stand contains the Millennium Madejski Hotel.


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.

International football

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

YearDateOpponentsResultAttendancePart of
19993 September Luxembourg5–02000 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group 5
200114 August Netherlands4–019,467International friendly
200215 October Macedonia3–115,5002004 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group 7
200628 February Norway2–215,022International friendly
20135 September Moldova1–05,2682015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group 1

An England B match was also held at the stadium.

YearDateHomeResultAwayAttendancePart of
200625 May England B1–2 Belarus22,032International Friendly

Other international matches.

YearDateTeam 1ResultTeam 2AttendancePart of
20037 September Australia2–1 Jamaica8,050International Friendly
20137 September Reading0–2 OmanInternational Friendly

Rugby Union

Although a designated football stadium, Madejski has been used regularly since opening for Rugby Union. Richmond were the first rugby team to become tenants of the Madejski, 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 Madejski in 2000 after a year of ground sharing 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 Madejski Stadium until 2026.[13] Irish have seen their average crowds grow to more than 11,100 since 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 London Wasps on 16 March 2008.[14] This record stood until 19 Sep 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.

200020 MayNEC Harlequins 42–33 Narbonne11,2112000–01 European Challenge Cup Final
200325 MayBath 30–48 London Wasps18,0742002–03 Parker Pen Challenge Cup Final
200422 MayMontferrand 26–27 NEC Harlequins13,1232003–04 Parker Pen Challenge Cup Final
201623 AprilSaracens 24–17 Wasps16,8202015–16 European Champions Cup Semi-final

Other Uses

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.[15]

The stadium is also the final venue for the Reading Senior Cup.[16]

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.

YearDateTeam 1ScoreTeam 2AttendancePart of
20002 NovemberNew Zealand 84–10 Cook Islands3,9822000 Rugby League World Cup Group 2


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.[17]

Highest attendances

1 Everton 2012–13 Premier League 17 November 2012 24,184 Exceeding the stadium's stated capacity
2 West Ham United 2012–13 Premier League 29 December 2012 24,183 Exceeding the stadium's stated capacity
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

Season Average Attendance[18] Highest Attendance
Division Average Change Date Opponent Competition Attendance[19]
1998–99 Division Two 11,262 16.4% 27 March 1999 Manchester City Division Two 20,055
1999–2000 Division Two 8,985 20.2% 7 August 1999 Bristol City Division Two 13,348
2000–01 Division Two 12,647 40.8% 16 May 2001 Wigan Athletic Division Two play-offs 22,034
2001–02 Division Two 14,115 11.6% 13 April 2002 Peterborough United Division Two 22,151
2002–03 Division One 16,011 13.4% 14 May 2003 Wolverhampton Wanderers Division One play-offs 24,060
2003–04 Division One 15,095 5.7% 3 December 2003 Chelsea League Cup 24,107
2004–05 Championship 17,169 13.7% 22 January 2005 Ipswich Town Championship 23,203
2005–06 Championship 20,207 17.7% 10 February 2006 Southampton Championship 23,845
2006–07 Premier League 23,829 17.9% 10 February 2007 Aston Villa Premiership 24,122
2007–08 Premier League 23,585 1.0% 19 January 2008 Manchester United Premier League 24,135
2008–09 Championship 19,936 15.5% 3 May 2009 Birmingham City Championship 23,879
2009–10 Championship 17,408 12.7% 2 January 2010 Liverpool FA Cup 23,656
2010–11 Championship 17,682 1.6% 27 November 2010 Leeds United Championship 23,677
2011–12 Championship 19,219 8.7% 10 December 2011 West Ham United Championship 24,026
2012–13 Premier League 23,862 24.2% 17 November 2012 Everton Premier League 24,184
2013–14 Championship 19,171 19.7% 3 May 2014 Burnley Championship 23,335
2014–15 Championship 17,022 11.2% 16 March 2015 Bradford City FA Cup 22,908
2015–16 Championship 17,285 1.5% 11 March 2016 Crystal Palace FA Cup 23,110
2016–17 Championship 17,505 1.3% 1 April 2017 Leeds United Championship 23,055
2017–18 Championship 16,656 4.9% 23 December 2017 Burton Albion Championship 21,771


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.[20][21]

On London Irish match days, Reading Buses provide a special shuttle service (R1) from Reading railway station. When no matches are taking place, the stadium can be reached from Reading town centre using Reading Buses Greenwave services.[22][23]

The proposed Green Park railway station, which would serve both the stadium and the adjacent Green Park Business Park, was put on hold on 27 October 2011. In April 2015, the plans were reapproved, with construction expected to start in October 2016 and a planned opening date in 2017. The new station will be just under a 1-mile (1.6 km) walk from the stadium.[24][25]


  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. "Madejski Stadium information". Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Stadium pitch has been lengthened". 2 July 2007. Archived from the original on 22 August 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  4. 1 2 1871 (2003). "The Home Grounds of Reading FC". 1871 – The Ultimate Reading FC Website. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  5. Digby (2001, p. 46)
  6. Loader, Graham (1998). "READING 0 Norwich City 1". Hob Nob Anyone?. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  7. "The Eamonn Dolan Stand". Retrieved 2016-07-05.
  8. 1 2,,10306~311866,00.html%5Bpermanent+dead+link%5D
  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. "London Irish make long term commitment to Madejski Stadium". Premiership rugby. Premiership Rugby. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  14. "Walder inspires Wasps win". Sky Sports. 11 January 2008.
  15. "Germany in 1966-style charity win". BBC News. 3 May 2006. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  16. "Wokingham & Emmbrook win Reading Senior Cup". Berkshire Media Group. Bracnell News. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  17. "Highest Attendances". Royals Record. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  18. "Reading FC". Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  19. "Reading FC Match Reports". Hob Nob Anyone?. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  20. "Buses/Trains for Madejski Stadium". Reading Football Club. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  21. "Football Buses - Times and fare information for the 2014/15 season". Reading Buses. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  22. "Rugby Buses". Reading Buses. Archived from the original on 22 June 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  23. "Greenwave Madjeski Stadium Park & Ride" (PDF). Reading Buses. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 January 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  24. Millward, David (27 October 2011). "Green Park station plan hits the buffers". Get Reading. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  25. "Green Park railway station approved for Reading". News. BBC. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2015.

  • Digby, Bob (2001), It's a World Thing, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0199134286, retrieved 2 June 2011 
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