clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

YouTube History: The Best Nights In Reading FC's History At The Madejski Stadium

Reading's win over Fulham was a special night, but where does it rank in top evening games at the Mad Stad?

5 - Liverpool (8 December 2007)

Okay so maybe this one shouldn't qualify seeing as it was a late kick off rather than an evening game. But the game took place under the lights and felt like an evening game.

Reading's season and a half in the Premier League had been a dream, but we had still to beat one of the what were back then the undisputed top four (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United). Liverpool actually arrived in Berkshire undefeated, whilst every single player in Reading's starting lineup had been part of the Championship winning team in 2006.

The game came to life when Reading took the lead through a controversial Stephen Hunt penalty. The roar of the crowd tells you what a big deal it was to be leading against Liverpool.

Steven Gerrard soon equalised, but in the second half Reading took control. Watching James Harper's goal still sends a shiver down my spine. This felt like one of those "we had made it" moments. Sadly it was to be the last high for a great team.

4 - Bradford City (16 March 2015)

The atmosphere, buildup and tension for both games against Bradford were more like a playoff semi final than an FA Cup tie. Reading fans have become used to league success, but this was something new and a chance to create history.

Sweet Caroline was sung with gusto before kickoff and the atmosphere was still raucous when Hal Robson-Kanu headed an early goal. The celebrations released some of tension and we were still celebrating when Garath McCleary scored a second.

The only reason this game isn't higher is because in the ended it was an easy win for Reading. That doesn't take away what a great night it was and it's a shame that the club have never been able to get the playing of Sweet Caroline as right as they did that night.

3 - Nottingham Forest (17 April 2012)

It says a lot about Reading's history since moving to the Madejski Stadium that a game when we clinched promotion doesn't come in the top two nights in the stadium's history. I almost even placed it below the Bradford night.

There wasn't any real tension and indeed the sense of expectation meant the atmosphere only really got going when news of West Ham drawing travelled around the stadium. Mikele Leigertwood's goal sparked wild celebrations with half of Y25/26 ending up a few rows further forward.

The pitch invasion at the end created one of the iconic videos in the club's history when Jobi McAnuff found out we had been promoted. A great joyous night.

2 - Fulham (16 May 2017)

Nights like this weren't supposed to happen to me anymore. Now that I'm older, live away from Reading and know few people still in the town, football was supposed to be less important.

Sometimes though old habits die hard. I left work about an hour earlier than I needed and arrived at the stadium much earlier than normal. I didn't feel particularly nervous, more a raw excitement.

Lucky I was not the only one. The bars outside the East Stand were packed and you could feel the tension around the ground.

The free flags seemed a bit gimmicky, but ended up looking more impressive than expected. The atmosphere was good before, and at the beginning of the game, though got quieter as the tension grew.

The explosive start to the second half set the Reading fans off. You can always tell there's a good atmosphere when the North/East corner of the stadium starts the chanting and it travels around the whole ground.

As the team tired the fans for once stood up and carried them to the full time. The last 10-15 were a non-stop wall of noise before the tension was finally over. Bring on Bank Holiday Monday!

1 - Wigan Athletic (16 May 2001)

This game has become mythical. Those who were there will get misty-eyed recalling the atmosphere and how the Mad Stad swayed under thousands of fans going mental.

It was so good that the younger TTE editors have started to get annoyed when us older ones go on about it and have even started to question whether it could have been THAT good.

Well imagine Fulham and this season, but instead of two preceding second tier mediocre seasons with long FA Cup runs, two mediocre third tier seasons with no cup runs on the back of a relegation and two other seasons fighting relegation, all after a heartbreaking playoff final defeat in 1995. 16 May 2001 felt a long, long time coming.

Add in that back then a full Madejski Stadium was still a novelty. Add in that we had been fighting for automatic promotion all season and finished way ahead of Wigan.

Add in an early Wigan goal. Add in going into the last few minutes behind. Add in an equaliser that saved us and was going to take the game to extra time.

Add in a penalty in injury time. Add in that back then no one was filming the game on their phone so 23,000 people have their whole attention on the game.

Add in the despair when that penalty was missed. Add in that the rebound was turned in and you start to understand why that atmosphere that night will take some beating.

Just watch the video below and marvel at how mental the North Stand celebrates. Not Y25/26, the North Stand.

Everyone who I have spoken with who was there that night talks about how they felt the stadium move. Reading fans created a mini earthquake and until that happens again this will remain THE best evening game and atmosphere at the Madejski Stadium.