Madejski Stadium

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Madejski Stadium
The Mad Stad [1]
Madejski Stadium logo.svg
Madejski Stadium
Full nameMadejski Stadium
LocationJunction 11
Coordinates 51°25′20″N0°58′58″W / 51.42222°N 0.98278°W / 51.42222; -0.98278 Coordinates: 51°25′20″N0°58′58″W / 51.42222°N 0.98278°W / 51.42222; -0.98278
OwnerMadejski Holdings plc
Capacity 24,161 [2]
Record attendance24,184 (Reading v. Everton; 17 November 2012)
23,709 (London Irish v. London Wasps; 16 March 2008)
Field size105m x 68m (football) [3]
SurfaceSIS Grass
Opened22 August 1998
Construction cost£50m (£89m in 2019)
Reading (football)
London Irish (rugby union)
Richmond FC (rugby union)


The Madejski Stadium /məˈdski/ is a football stadium located in Reading, Berkshire, England. It is the home of Reading Football Club, who play in the EFL Championship. 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 January 1990, the Taylor Report made all-seater stadiums compulsory in the top two divisions of English football for the 1994-95 season. Having played in the second tier of the English league several times before, Reading were champions of Division Two in 1994, and were promoted to Division One. 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] Construction of the new stadium, which was undertaken by Birse Group, [6] was underway by 1997, and the last competitive match at Elm Park took place on 3 May 1998 against Norwich City, with Reading losing 1–0, having already been relegated to Division Two. [7]

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. [8]

Structure and facilities

The Madejski Stadium as viewed from the stadium's north stand. The Madejski Stadium.jpg
The Madejski Stadium as viewed from the stadium's north stand.

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. [9] Although in use for all Reading matches, the stand was normally closed for London Irish and only opened in exceptional circumstances where demand required.

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 their 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 2015, with falling attendance at London Irish, the South Stand remained closed for rugby and only opened if required.

The East Stand has a capacity of 7,286 including 18 spaces for wheelchairs. [9] 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 again for the 2017-18 season and 2019-20 seasons.

Millennium Madejski Hotel Millenium Madejski Hotel.jpg
Millennium Madejski Hotel

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 and 2018-19 seasons, 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, [10] 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. [11]

On 24 May 2007, it was announced that planning permission had been granted to extend the stadium to a capacity of 36,900. [12] 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. [13]

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 SeptemberFlag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxembourg 5–018,094 2000 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group 5
200114 AugustFlag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 4–019,467International friendly
200215 OctoberFlag of North Macedonia.svg  Macedonia 3–115,500 2004 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group 7
200628 FebruaryFlag of Norway.svg  Norway 2–215,022International friendly
20135 SeptemberFlag of Moldova.svg  Moldova 1–05,268 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group 1

An England B match was also held at the stadium.

YearDateHomeResultAwayAttendancePart of
200625 May Flag of England.svg England B 1–2Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus 22,032International Friendly

Other international matches.

YearDateTeam 1ResultTeam 2AttendancePart of
20037 SeptemberFlag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 2–1Flag of Jamaica.svg  Jamaica 8,050International Friendly
20137 September Flag of England.svg Reading 0–2Flag of Oman.svg  Oman International Friendly

Rugby union

London Irish playing London Wasps in August 2011 London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.jpg
London Irish playing London Wasps in August 2011

Although a designated football stadium, Madejski was 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. [14] However, they were to leave after the 2019–20 season. [15] Irish played their last game at Madejski on 1 March, 2020 when they were defeated by Wasps. The COVID-19 pandemic had truncated the season causing a premature end to their tenancy.

Irish saw their average crowds grow to more than 11,100 after 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. [16] 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.

2000 20 May NEC Harlequins Flag of England.svg 42–33 Flag of France.svg Narbonne 11,211 2000–01 European Challenge Cup Final
2003 25 May Bath Flag of England.svg 30–48 Flag of England.svg London Wasps 18,074 2002–03 Parker Pen Challenge Cup Final
2004 22 May Montferrand Flag of France.svg 26–27 Flag of England.svg NEC Harlequins 13,123 2003–04 Parker Pen Challenge Cup Final
2016 23 April Saracens Flag of England.svg 24–17 Flag of England.svg Wasps 16,820 2015–16 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. [17]

The stadium is also the final venue for the Reading Senior Cup. [18]

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 November New Zealand  Flag of New Zealand.svg84–10Flag of the Cook Islands.svg  Cook Islands 3,982 2000 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. [19]

Highest attendances

1 Everton 2012-2013 Premier League 17 November 201224,184Exceeding the stadium's stated capacity
2 West Ham United 2012–13 Premier League 29 December 201224,183Exceeding the stadium's stated capacity
3 Tottenham Hotspur 2012–13 Premier League 16 September 201224,160
4 Manchester United 2007–08 Premier League 19 January 200824,134
5 Tottenham Hotspur 2007–08 Premier League 3 May 200824,125
6 Aston Villa 2006–07 Premier League 10 February 200724,122
7 Liverpool 2006–07 Premier League 7 April 200724,121
8 Newcastle United 2007–08 Premier League 27 October 200724,119
9 Fulham 2007–08 Premier League 12 April 200824,112
10 Tottenham Hotspur 2006–07 Premier League 12 November 200624,110
11 Newcastle United 2006–07 Premier League 30 April 200724,109
12 Chelsea 2003–04 Football League Cup 3 December 200324,107

Attendances by season

Season Reading [20] Richmond [21] [22]
Average attendance [lower-alpha 1] Highest attendanceAverage attendance [lower-alpha 1] [lower-alpha 2] Highest attendance [lower-alpha 2]
DivisionAve.DateOpponentCompetitionAtt. [23] DivisionAve.DateOpponentCompetitionAtt.
1998–99 Division Two 11,262 (Increase2.svg16%)27 March Manchester City Division Two 20,055 Premiership 7,205 (Increase2.svg)26 December London Irish Premiership 9,621
1999–2000 Division Two 8,985 (Decrease2.svg20%)7 August Bristol City Division Two 13,348 London Irish
2000–01 Division Two 12,647 (Increase2.svg41%)16 May Wigan Athletic Division Two play-offs 22,034 Premiership 6,305 (Increase2.svg)17 March Northampton Saints Premiership 12,037
2001–02 Division Two 14,115 (Increase2.svg12%)13 April Peterborough United Division Two 22,151 Premiership 7,254 (Increase2.svg)16 March Bristol Premiership 12,873
2002–03 Division One 16,011 (Increase2.svg13%)14 May Wolverhampton Wanderers Division One play-offs 24,060 Premiership 9,916 (Increase2.svg)15 March Harlequins Premiership 18,585
2003–04 Division One 15,095 (Decrease2.svg6%)3 December Chelsea League Cup 24,107 Premiership 10,571 (Increase2.svg)21 March Bath Premiership 20,840
2004–05 Championship 17,169 (Increase2.svg14%)22 January Ipswich Town Championship 23,203 Premiership 10,312 (Decrease2.svg)26 March Gloucester Premiership 17,111
2005–06 Championship 20,207 (Increase2.svg18%)10 February Southampton Championship 23,845 Premiership 10,953 (Increase2.svg)25 March Sale Sharks Premiership 19,884
2006–07 Premier League 23,829 (Increase2.svg18%)10 February Aston Villa Premiership 24,122 Premiership 10,731 (Decrease2.svg)18 March London Wasps Premiership 22,648
2007–08 Premier League 23,585 (Decrease2.svg1%)19 January Manchester United Premier League 24,135 Premiership 9,950 (Decrease2.svg)16 March London Wasps Premiership 23,709
2008–09 Championship 19,936 (Decrease2.svg16%)3 May Birmingham City Championship 23,879 Premiership 11,378 (Increase2.svg)22 March Northampton Saints Premiership 21,295
2009–10 Championship 17,408 (Decrease2.svg13%)2 January Liverpool FA Cup 23,656 Premiership 14,303 (Increase2.svg)28 March Sale Sharks Premiership 21,535
2010–11 Championship 17,682 (Increase2.svg2%)27 November Leeds United Championship 23,677 Premiership 10,339 (Decrease2.svg)26 March Exeter Chiefs Premiership 20,011
2011–12 Championship 19,219 (Increase2.svg9%)10 December West Ham United Championship 24,026 Premiership 10,398 (Increase2.svg)25 March Leicester Tigers Premiership 20,905
2012–13 Premier League 23,862 (Increase2.svg24%)17 November Everton Premier League 24,184 Premiership 9,471 (Decrease2.svg)23 March Worcester Warriors Premiership 19,523
2013–14 Championship 19,171 (Decrease2.svg20%)3 May Burnley Championship 23,335 Premiership 9,243 (Decrease2.svg)22 March Bath Premiership 22,361
2014–15 Championship 17,022 (Decrease2.svg11%)16 March Bradford City FA Cup 22,908 Premiership 8,943 (Decrease2.svg)28 March Newcastle Falcons Premiership 15,731
2015–16 Championship 17,285 (Increase2.svg2%)11 March Crystal Palace FA Cup 23,110 Premiership 8,749 (Decrease2.svg)20 March Gloucester Premiership 17,752
2016–17 Championship 17,505 (Increase2.svg1%)1 April Leeds United Championship 23,055 Championship 4,005 (Decrease2.svg)18 March Cornish Pirates Championship 11,671
2017–18 Championship 16,656 (Decrease2.svg5%)23 December Burton Albion Championship 21,771 Premiership 7,748 (Increase2.svg)24 March Gloucester Premiership 15,274
2018–19 Championship 14,991 (Decrease2.svg10%)22 April West Bromwich Albion Championship 17,255 Championship 3,770 (Decrease2.svg)23 March Doncaster Knights Championship 10,106


  1. 1 2 The average attendance figure includes league matches only.
  2. 1 2 Since 2004, London Irish have played a Premiership home match at Twickenham Stadium, London as part of the London Double Header. These matches are removed from the highest and average attendance figures to show only the highest and average attendances at the Madejski Stadium.


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. [24] [25]

When no matches are taking place, the stadium can be reached from Reading town centre using Reading Buses Greenwave services. [26] [27]

The planned Green Park railway station, which will serve both the stadium and the adjacent Green Park Business Park, is set to open by the end of 2021. [28] The new station will be just under a 1-mile (1.6 km) walk from the stadium.

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