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Madejski Stadium
Reading v Watford
Saturday September 10th 2011, 3pm
By Patrick McNicholas
(Watford Fan)

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

We have had a  good set of results against Reading in previous seasons. From our 2-0 Premiership win in 2006, to our relegation survival 3-0 win in the 2009-2010 season. Upon hearing of a large away following for the game, I decided to go with some friends. I had been the previous season, and enjoyed the occasion. We were also hunting our first win of the season which and with Reading losing their last four, I felt that we could achieve this at the Madejski. 

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

Last season I went by train. My hometown to St Pancras, then onto Waterloo, and finally to Reading station. There is a shuttle service to the stadium from the train station at (if I remember correctly) £3 (or less!). All in all a straight forward journey, done in about two hours or so.

But this time I opted for the supporters coach. We left Vicarage Road, headed through Watford, then quickly onto the M25. After about 35-40 minutes on the M25, we were in Reading. Despite the usual matchday traffic, we were parked up within about an hour or so of leaving Vicarage Road.

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

The coach dropped us off outside the away end and we made our way directly into the ground, almost completely avoiding any contact with the Reading fans. (Though, if the previous season's experience was anything to go by, where we mingled with Reading fans since leaving the station, they're a friendly bunch!). We picked up a bite to eat in the reasonably priced refreshments area, then made the climb to the top of the away end to experience the build up to the game.

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

The stadium is one of the many modern day 'oval' styled stadiums, one which I have become accustomed to, so I didn't think much of it. The away end is primarily situated behind but to the left of the goal, with a good view from most seats in the area. I've only experienced a view from the back of the away end, but I enjoyed the view throughout the whole match.

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

After taking the lead through Mark Yeates' superbly taken free kick, the away fans really came into life, which provided a good away atmosphere compared to the relatively quiet home fans (albeit the drum on the other side of the ground, and a small section of singing fans to our right). With John Eustace adding a second in the second half, and the continuation of the good away support from the 1,600 or so travelling Hornets, the game ended with a thunderous cheer for our first win of the season. Many fans stayed at the end to applaude the team, and even watch some players warming down. The stewards were fine with this. However, this was the first time I was happy with them, as Reading stewards on more than one occasion made a huge fuss about us sitting down during the game. The facilities were good at the newish stadium, plenty of room in the concourse, and yes, the food was good!

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

Last year was relatively straight forward, with us getting the shuttle service back to Reading train station, which, despite the usual queuing for the bus and traffic leaving the area, was as straight forward as any shuttle service can be.

This season, again, was straight forward. We hopped back onto the supporters coach, and slowly but surely made our way through the 20,000 strong matchday traffic. We were back in Watford in about an hour.
 
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Reading will remain to be one of my favourite away days, due to its ease in travel, fairly cheap ticket prices, and generally kind and un-intimidating style of the home fans.


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