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St James' Park
Newcastle United v Reading
Saturday 5th April 2008, 3pm
Premier League

By Marc Mayo
(Reading fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

I was hoping to go to this ground as I have seen some good photos of the stadium, plus this was another opportunity to follow the Royals on another trip. The ground had always been noted to me as one I must see in the top flight and our recent run has encouraged me to travel to the ground for the must-win away game.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking:

Me and my dad left for the coach that left Madejski stadium at 6:15am, a few hundred tired Reading fans gathered outside the east stand for the 4 coaches. the STAR (Supporters Trust At Reading) coaches were fairly organised and we had 2 stops on the way up to Newcastle, passing the stunning 'Angel of the North' and reaching Newcastle city centre at around 1:45pm. You could see St James Park from miles away and as we approached it grew.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

We were dropped off just down the road from the main stand and this was conveniently only a few hundred yards from the away turnstile. Heading down the road we passed a packed Programme seller, and as I'd hoped to buy one, we travelled on in hope of finding a slightly quieter one, which we never did. We then headed into the ground.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

First impressions were good, the two stands towered over the rest and had added to the ground massively. Going up the seven floors of stairs is tiring, but a nice view across the parks and roads meets you as you look back across the streets through a large set of windows in the concourses. The two smaller stands opposite to the away end are overhung by the larger ones but this does not feel so bad when in the away corner. The 'Newcastle United' words placed across the top of the stand opposite us is a nice feature also.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

The Game was poor, our 'pub team' lost 3-0 to a spirited Newcastle. Rosenior's slip let in Martins to back flip Newcastle into the lead. Owen made it 2-0 despite up pressing and then Viduka finishing us off. 3-0... The atmosphere was good and despite being 7 floors up the Geordie fans to our left stood up for the whole game and were louder than any other part of the ground. The stadium was packed and 50,200 fans saw what they wanted, leaving the other 1800 to go home with nothing. The stewards were fine and friendly, the food was good and toilets were up to the high standard of the premier league.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting onto the coach was fine and no fans had any grief with each other as both sets of fans walked side by side. the traffic back was perfectly fine and we arrived back at Madejski stadium early.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

The Stadium was great, view was daunting at first but I got used to it, the game was dismal but the overall trip was a great day out. Recommend it to anyone who doesn't take the scoreline to seriously, as this side is on the up. 

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