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Madejski Stadium, Reading
v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Championship League 
Saturday April 30th 2005, 3pm
By J Sheppard

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

Despite having nothing to play for but pride and promise for next season, the Madejski stadium was one of the few in the south-east I had never visited. Also, after recent improvements under Hoddle especially away from home, I believed we could give play-off chasing Reading a good game.

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

Coming by train from my girlfriend's university in Leicester we went via London to find replacement bus services and ended up going on a tour of the towns of Berkshire before ending up at Reading at about 1:45. It was hard to miss the football special bus to the ground which we were able to get on straight away with no problems from any Reading fans. It took about 15 minutes to get to the ground and dropped us off just outside.

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

Owing to the lack of pubs and expensive burgers (3.00! c'mon) we went straight into the away end to get at pint (relatively cheap). However, the refreshments/toilet area was no way near big enough for the 2000 or so Wolves fans who made the trip and it was a bit cramped, with large queues for the food & drink, accumulating in a 20 minute wait.

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

The ground from the outside looks impressive but I couldn't help but think it could look a bit better, perhaps due to the large empty spaces of grey on the outside. Inside it is much nicer, and much more impressive than the modern Legoland stadiums like the Walkers Stadium and St Marys. The away end had a steep complexion which made one feel that despite being quite high up, that you were close to the action. Leg-room was also very impressive, so good in fact that when getting past fellow fans on our row they didn't have to stand up!

 

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

The game was very entertaining with Wolves outplaying a disappointing Reading side to run out 2-1 winners after being a goal behind at half-time. The atmosphere from the Reading fans started okay but ebbed and flowed as the frustration mounted and they soon lost heart. As usual we made a lot of noise from the away end and the celebrations that followed the win showed that even these 'nothing' games mean a lot to a lot of people. The worst point of the day was the situation in the refreshment area at half-time. After exiting the gate it was near impossible to move, the queues backing right onto the exits back into the stand. I gave up getting a drink and struggled my way out but God help anybody who was desperate for the toilet!

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

Due to the ludicrous crush at half time and the post - match celebrations we decided to leave it a while before we left our seats to go and find the bus, which incidentally leaves from the same place you're dropped off. However leaving earlier may have been beneficial as there was a huge queue for this bus and we had to wait another half an hour alongside good-natured Reading fans before the buses came back and took us back to the station. 

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the Madejski, a brilliant win gives real hope for next season and despite awful train journeys to and from Reading it was all worth it. The stadium is certainly classy and as I'm sure has been said before, would certainly not look out of place in the Premiership.

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