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Madejski Stadium

Reading v Fulham
Premier League 
Saturday October 27th 2012, 3pm
By Tom Fry

(Fulham Fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground?

I personally had never set foot in Reading, so was looking forward to going for the first time. Fulham had also sold out their allocation in pretty quick time, so it was bound to be a good day out, full of atmosphere and hopefully three points.

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

Jumped on the train from Gatwick to Reading station which took just over an hour. Very easy direct journey and no messing about with changing trains.

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

As you come out of Reading station, a pub called The Three Guinea’s is instantly on the right where most of our away following had set up camp. All were in good spirits as the drink flowed, staff at the pub are very easy going. Some Reading fans did take offence to our chanting outside though and one or two came over to have a word, but nothing major kicked off.

We then jumped on the buses from the station to the ground, which are specially laid on for match days. Very good service in my opinion, although make sure you have the correct change as we found out the hard way first time around! Cost is £4 adults and £2 children for a return journey. Fans of both sides happily mingled together and chatted away about how there season was going, favourite away trips and just general chat. 

This journey normally takes around 10 minutes, however give yourself enough time to get from the buses to the away end, as where the buses stop is basically on a roundabout outside the ground which is still a fair walk to the South Stand.

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

Mad Stad is like most of these modern stadiums now; big bowl look to it with all the mod-cons and a hotel outside of it. The away end itself has a big concourse with all the usual food and drink available, and a nice touch by the staff behind the kiosks who were all wearing Fulham shirts to make us feel welcome.

The away end itself has good views all around. We were in row A and even from there it was pretty easy to tell on the pitch where the players and the ball were. Good leg room between the rows of seats as well, however do note that you will get wet if you’re sitting in the front 10 or so rows if it’s raining, as we got absolutely drenched!

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

Wow! A 3-3 thriller which consisted of Fulham staging a second-half showing which Brian McDermott described as a ‘Harlem Globetrotters’  like performance. We also managed to throw away another lead, this time twice in the final 10 minutes! The fact that Berbatov celebrated his goal right in front of me made it a quality day though. Even managed to get myself a cheeky cameo appearance on Match of the Day whilst going mental celebrating that goal!

Atmosphere itself was good from the away fans, with constant digs at old player Pavel Pogrebnyak, the hilarious chant of  ‘we’ve got Bairdinho’ and the usual QPR bashing. A bloke in a horse outfit also turned up, to the amusement of the stewards! However I expected better from the home fans. Fair play to support to the right hand side of the away end who stood and sang all game with the banter flowing freely, but apart from that, an annoying drum on the opposite side of the ground and a few clappers, it was all very quiet from the Reading fans. I really, really dislike music being played after a goal too, especially that tune that usually accompanies the darts!

Stewards were very laid back, if not a bit too laid back to be honest. No moans about standing, and even when it started raining and we moved towards the back in the disabled gangway to shelter, nothing was really said until the rain stopped.

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

Getting away from the ground is as easy as getting there. Queue for the buses and straight back into the centre of Reading and the station’s right in front of you. I really would recommend this service to anyone going rather than driving there, as apparently the area around the motorway backs up for miles before and after games.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Another quality day out. The game itself was an absolute corker, I took a neutral fan with me and he had a great time! The away fans were in good voice, and getting in the celebrations of Berbatov’s goal just topped the day off brilliantly. Just a shame we couldn’t hold on and get three points on the road!

Are you an away or general football fan who has visited the Madejski Stadium recently?
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