Wednesday, 29 August 2012


Chelsea v Reading
Barclays Premier League
Stamford Bridge
Wednesday 22nd August 2012

Journey Time to the ground: 15 minutes.  As I was on a work placement in Wimbledon for the week, I was lucky to be able to jump on the District Line at Wimbledon station and get the tube to Fulham Broadway.  We left at about 6:30pm and were off the tube at 6:45pm.

The ground is about a five minute walk away from the tube station, turning right as you come out.  The away end entrance is about a 10 minute walk from the station. 

Ticket Price: £47

Programme Price: £3.

This was my first visit to Stamford Bridge and I was very excited to be visiting one of the most well known grounds in the country.  We had stopped outside the magnificent West Stand to take a couple of pictures, along with all the Chelsea tourists!  I managed to get a picture of myself with Sir John Madejski as he was going into the ground.  We walked from here, to the away side of the Shed End, passed Marco Piere White's restaurant and the hotel.  We had tickets in the Shed End lower and made our way passed lines and lines of stewards to get to the turnstiles.  My boyfriend said that it was like being in Gladiators having to battle passed row after row of stewards, showing them the same ticket and proving where you were going!  After going through the turnstiles we were sent through a door to the left, which felt like we were being sent into a cupboard.  We had tickets in row 16, which I assumed would be near the front, how wrong was I!  We were in the back row of the lower tier, beneath the overhanging upper tier.  This meant that if we stood up, we could only see the penalty box closest to us, and no more of the pitch, but we could just about see the whole length of the pitch when sat down.  We were in line with the right hand edge of the penalty box as we looked at it.  The Shed End is split between home and away fans.

To the left of the Shed End is the West Stand.  This is a three tiered stand and is quite impressive, unfortunately I could only see the lower tier.  Opposite the Shed End is the Matthew Harding stand, which is two-tiered and exactly the same as the Shed End but houses home fans only.  To the right of the Shed End is the East Stand.  This is another three tiered stand similar to the West Stand that hosues the dug outs, again I could only see the lower tier.  The ground is all seater with a capacity of just under 42,000.

The game started with Chelsea dominating, and after 18 minutes new signing Eden Hazard tricked Chris Gunter into tripping him in the box and a penalty was given.  Although Hazard was caught, he did got down quite easily.  Up stepped Frank Lampard to smash the ball passed Adam Federici in goal and I had visions of us being hammered 6-0 and was wondering how long the night was going to become.  But fortunately for us Reading fans, going behind seem to spur us on.  A nice one-two between Gareth McCleary and Danny Guthrie resulted in McCleary whipping a lovely cross into the box that was met by Pavel Pogrebniak who planted a powerful header beyond the outstretched Petr Cech.  The away end erupted, but things were about to get better.  Five minutes later, Jobi McAnuff was up-ended by John Terry about 25 yards out from goal.  Guthrie took the free-kick, which was pretty tame to be honest, but somehow Cech only managed to divert the ball into his own net and we were 2-1 up.  Reading dominated the rest of the first half, with Chelsea looking a little shell-shocked.  After half time, Chelsea inevitably had more of the play, and equalised on 69 minutes, when a shot from Gary Cahill was palmed into his own net by Federici, the second mistake he had made in two games.  Ten minues later, Chelsea took the lead, Fernando Torres tapping in an Ashley Cole cross, although he did appear to be offside.  Still Reading didn't give up, and in stoppage time Federici went up for a corner to try and salvage a point, unfortunately Chelsea broke clear, and with no goalkeeper in place, Hazard centred for Branislav Ivanovic to tap in and the game finished 4-2.

Attendance: 41,733 with 2,857 Reading fans.

Atmosphere:  The atmosphere was amazing, especially when we were winning and were top of the league for about half an hour.  The fans didn't stop singing all game, and the low roof we were under allowed us to make a lot of noise  The Chelsea fans were quite quiet and only really made any noise when they were winning.

Journey Time home: 1 hour.  We walked towards Kensington to let the numbers at Fulham Broadway station die down and got some food at KFC.  We didn't get on a tube until almost 11pm, a good hour after the game had finished.  We got the tube back to Wimbledon, then a bus from Wimbledon to New Malden, where we were staying with relatives.  We got back just before midnight.

Again an amazing experience.  The ground is well worth a visit, even at the price, but I might try and get upper tier seats next time to get a better view.  We were very unlucky to come away with nothing, I think even a draw would have been a little harsh on us, but I never thought I would see the day that Reading outplayed the European Champions on their own turf!