Being rescheduled now for Tuesday evening, it is far from ideal for any travelling fans who wish to make the journey and will now face the possibility of not arriving home until after 3am in the morning. I’m sure another logistical challenge wont dissuade the Toon Army though as we have backed the team all season and I can’t see that changing in the final weeks of the season, especially as the main objective of promotion has now been achieved which means we can now fully focus on capturing the Championship trophy, and 3 points down in Berkshire would all but guarantee a bit of silverware.
We’ll set off for the 300 mile trip down the A1, meet up with M1 at Leeds and carry on south. Just keep following the M1 past Sheffield, Nottingham and Leicester until you hit J15A (A43 / Northampton / Oxford). Leave the motorway there and follow the A43 towards Oxford. If you keep folowing the signs for Oxford then you’ll eventually meet up with the M40. Head southbound on the M40 and leave at J9 (A34 Oxford / Newbury). Follow the A34 for around 30 miles until you meet the M4. You’ll join the M4 at J13, so you’ll need to head east towards London for 2 junctions, making sure you leave at J11 (A33 Reading). The whole Madejski complex is well signposted from the motorway, but just in case you miss the signs, you’lll be fine as long as you bear left!
As an alternative, you can come straight down the A1 from the Toon until you hit the M25. Head anti-clockwise (in the direction of Watford) until you reach the M4 at J15. Join the M4 westbound and leave at J11 as above. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this way as it incorporates a lot of roadworks on the A1, the M25 traffic, aswell as traffic around Heathrow airport. You should also be warned that the roadworks on the M4 at J11 are still there so you may need to leave some more time to take account of these.
At the first roundabout on the A33 there is a car park which costs £7, although if you turn right at that roundabout there is some street parking. Imperial Way is the name of the road, but you’ll need to be there early. There are more unofficial car parks dotted around but beware they can be quite expensive – I’ve seen £10 parking advertised before! Another warning is not to park in the retail park next to the ground. You will end up either clamped or with a ticket!
Another option is to use the Park & Ride which is run by the club. For this, rather than heading for Reading on the A33, take the B3270 towards Earley and follow signs for ‘Football Car Park C’. Make sure you don’t park in the residential estate as this is permit parking only and is patrolled by clampers. To use the Park & Ride costs £3 for adults and £1.50 for children for a return ticket. The first bus leaves at 1:30pm.
As the Madejski is a realtively new stadium built out of town, it unfortunately means that pubs near to the ground are virtually non-existant. There is a Holiday Inn about 15 minutes walk away but this can be pretty swamped. For this, head down Imperial Way (as mentioned earlier) and it will be on your left. If this does get mobbed or if you fancy going somewhere else, then turn left after the hotel onto Basingstoke Road. Keep following this and you will come to a carvery pub called ‘The World Turned Upside Down’. Failing that then you can always grab a few drinks inside the ground for around £3 a pint.
As yet, I’ve been unable to find any solid figures over away numbers. All I have found so far is that its likely to be around 3,000, although potentially it could be 4,300. Im sure one of other contributors will fill this in if they know for sure. One thing I can confirm is that currently the home side have quoted ticket sales as being ‘above 21,500’.
Howay the lads.