Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Reading v Nottingham Forest
Madejski Stadium
Tuesday 17th April 2012

Journey Time to the ground: 35 minutes.  Left the house at 6:45pm and parked up at 7:20pm.  The closest league ground to home, would have been quicker but had to make two stops to pick up people and tickets!

Parked 25 minutes walk from the ground.  Plently of street parking available a little way up from the ground.  We parked in Hartlands Road and there are normally spaces available here, although there is a 20-25 minute walk to the ground.

Ticket Price: £23 advance member price.  Paid £25 for my non-member boyfriend's ticket.

Programme Price: £3.

I have lost count of the number of times I have been to the Madejski, having been a ball girl here for two seasons and owning a season ticket for eight seasons.  Unfortunately I now have to pick and choose my games as I can no longer afford or commit to a season ticket.  This was my third visit to the Madejski this season and I had yet to see us win, the previous two games being the 2-2 draw with Millwall on the first day of the season and the 2-1 defeat by Barnsley in the next home game.  I had ordered tickets in the South Stand.  This would be the first time I had properly sat in the South Stand, as the last time was when I was a ball girl and the stand was empty!  We entered via turnstiles at the back of the stand.  I had my member card read and my boyfriend the barcode on his ticket, as there are no turnstile operators.  Inside the ground we passed through the concourse, passing the toilets and food outlets.    The stand is split between home and away fans and we were in the home end.  The stand is fully covered and as the game was a sell out, arriving five minutes before kick off we easily had time to get to our seats.  Our seats were in row T, about half way up the stand, in line with the left hand edge of the six year box.  The stand is single tiered and consists of around 40 rows of seats with excellent pitch and leg room between rows, so much so that you do not need to stand up when someone walks passed, you simply just turn to one side.  With the game being a sell out, there were no empty seats in the home stands.  I could see the whole of the pitch as the views from all seats at the Madejski are excellent.
To the left of the South Stand is the West Stand.  This is the main stand and is two tiered with a row of executive boxes running across the middle of it.  Opposite the South Stand is the North Stand, which is exactly the same as the South Stand but houses home fans only.  To the right of the South Stand is the East Stand.  This is where the most vociferous Reading fans tend to congregate and is again a single tiered stand.  The ground is all seater with a capacity of just over 24,000.

To the game now and the first half was pretty even and scrappy with Reading having a Jason Roberts goal disallowed for a foul on goalkeeper Lee Camp by Noel Hunt.  Reading started the second half with a faster tempo, but gradually Nottingham Forest came back into the game, and George Elokobi should have done better then hitting the bar when he found himself unmarked at the back post.  This was an important game for Reading, knowing that if West Ham dropped points against Bristol City, then a Reading win would take them back to the promised land of the Premier League.  West Ham kicked off their game against Bristol City at 7:45pm, and with around 10 minutes of the game remaining, it began to filter through that West Ham had drawn 1-1.  This spurred the Reading fans into a chorus of "One goal and we're going up," and within a minute we had our winning goal.  A free kick from Ian Harte was met by Mikele Leigertwood, and made it's way into the back of the net.  The stadium erupted and the next ten minutes consisted of constanting singing of "We are going up" and "The Royals are going up."  There was a scare with a couple of minutes remaining as Alex Pearce cleared a goal-bound shot off the line, but Reading held out for the win to take them back to the Premier League after a four year absence.
The final whistle was greeted by a gleeful pitch invasion, myself included, and we were treated to the players celebrating with the fans from the Director's box.  I stayed on the pitch for around 15 minutes before deciding to leave.

Attendance: 22,899 with 1,181 Nottingham Forest fans.

Atmosphere:  The atmosphere was immense.  I don't know why, but I sensed that West Ham wouldn't win tonight and that this would be a promotion party.  The last 10 minutes were non-stop noise and the atmosphere on the pitch after the game was incredible.  The Forest fans also played their part, celebrating the fact they were staying in the Championship for another season.

Journey Time home: 30 minutes.  Got back to the car at 10:45pm after spending time celebrating and arrived back home at 11:15pm, again following a couple of stops to drop people off.

All in all, amazing.  The last time we went up I couldn't get a ticket for the Leicester away game, but was part of the Champions pitch invasion following the win over Derby the following week.  This was more exciting than that, as I'm not sure that the players knew we had gone up until the fans invaded the pitch.  I am now thoroughly looking forward to reviewing more Premier League grounds next season!