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Madejski Stadium
Reading v Bristol City
Saturday February 21st 2009, 3pm
Championship League
By Phil Culverhouse
(Bristol City fan)

This match was sold out to away supporters with 4,160 City fans going. We were defiantly going to make an impact. No team had done the double over us since we came up to the Championship but if we were going to hold on to that this was the toughest test following the heavy 1-4 defeat at home and Reading just 4 points off top spot.

We left Bristol at 10:15 and we got to Reading by 11:30. The Madejski is very easy to find less than a mile from the M4. There is no on street parking near by so we parked at the Holiday Inn on Imperial Way about 10-15 minutes walk from the ground. There is a bar in the hotel and an Irish Pub attached to it. They charged £7 to park there whilst the car park over the road wanted £8.

We drank in the Irish pub which soon filled up with City fans. The bear was a little over priced (larger at £3.80) but watch out for the food which is very expensive (£6:75 for a sausage toasty) so eat first or at the ground unless you have very deep pockets. They have Sky TV and plenty of staff on so no problem getting served. 

Later on Reading fans began to arrive and as the sun was shinning we moved outside where there is a paved area with tables and lots of open grass areas. It all looked very colourful Red & white everywhere mixed with small sections of Blue & white. Not a hint of trouble and I passed the time chatting with some Reading fans who were surprised that so many had come from Bristol. It almost had the feel of a cup final about it.
We set off for the ground at 2:10 pm the pavements were packed with supporters as most have to park some distance from the ground and walk in. The Madejski is a modern oval type stadium. There are kiosks just inside selling pies bear etc. We entered the South Stand and found our seats. I was very impressed with the whole place. The seats have plenty of room and the view is superb as it is quite steep and the stands are close to the pitch. It is very uniform all round except the West Stand which is two tiered. 

The atmosphere generated by so many away fans was superb. I had heard the stewards were a bit heavy handed but we found them very low key and we stood up when we wanted to without interference. The Reading vocal supporters were situated off to our right but they were totally drowned out and gave up altogether after 20 minutess when we scored.  

At half time I went to the gents which was a real scrum. Two rows of urinals opposite each over which could deal with around 15 a side with another 100 of us squashed in between them waiting and more trying to get in from both ends. 

The sun continued to shine in the second half as we went 2 up early on and we bounced and sang all the way to the final whistle while many disgruntled Reading fans left early although quite a few applauded us as we waved them goodbye...

On leaving the ground the police used a system of blocking us with there vans parked in a semi cercal just outside the ground then letting us go through small gaps which controlled the flow of City fans joining the Reading fans on the walk back to the car parks. This worked very well as there was no mass of fans together. The traffic back to the motorway was heavy but still only took 10 minutes and we were away. 

One the way home we found out we had jumped from 8th to 4th in the table and that this was a record attendance for away fans in a league game at the Madejski. It had been one of the best away day’s ever. Everything was perfect and I enjoyed everything about it. It is a very nice stadium the locals are very friendly and it’s easy to get to.

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