Madejski Stadium – Overview
The Madejski is a majestic all-seater bowl stadium in Reading, with a capacity of 24,171. Ideally situated for easy access from the M4, it is suited to any number of sports, but functions principally as the home to Reading Football Club, indeed it is named after Reading’s chairman John Madejski. The track around the pitch provides facilities for athletics meets, and the finish for the annual Reading Half Marathon, one of the most popular participation races in the South of England.
For four years, from 2010 to 2014, the stadium hosted the home games of London Irish Rugby Union Football Club, who subsequently moved on to facilities in Sunbury on Thames. Richmond have also used the stadium in the past, and it occasionally hosts European rugby knock out phases, where extra capacity is required.
The stadium was built when the Taylor Report of 1990 implemented new requirements for all-seater stadiums following the tragedy of the Hillsborough Disaster. The changes put in place from the Taylor Report came to apply to Reading as they were promoted from Division 2 in 1994, although the club would be relegated back to the division before the building was completed.
The stadium is built on an old landfill site which the club acquired for one pound on the condition that they contribute to the access roads to the A33.
Hosting numerous England under-21 fixtures and several international friendlies, the Madejski is a modern facility, if on the small side for major events. Numerous plans have been submitted to increase the capacity, but each time they have been shelved due to the team’s fluctuating fortunes.
Reading offer guided stadium tours around the Madejski Stadium that include access to the changing rooms, players’ tunnel, dugouts, hospitality areas, press room, and trophy room. The tours last about 60 minutes.
Tours run multiple times a week usually at 10:00 in the morning. For exact dates and times visitors can check the Reading football club official website. Understandably, there are no tours on match days.
During the COVID pandemic of 2020-2021, the Madejski Stadium was turned into a vaccination centre for the NHS. Surrounded by the usual football themed trappings of a stadium, people were able to receive their jabs from the joint venture with Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) working in conjunction with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.