The Madejski Stadium will be home to not one, but two Royals sides next season. Reading Women are to swap their current home, Wycombe Wanderers’ Adams Park, for the Mad Stad in 2020/21, as reported by the BBC.
It’s a particularly big step for the women’s side as it’ll make them the first team in the WSL to play at the same ground (on a regular basis) as their male counterparts. Reading Women have previously played at the Mad Stad a few times - they had four fixtures there last season - but South Bucks has been their predominant home.
This essentially means one out, one in at the Mad Stad. London Irish have already decided to swap Berkshire for London, and will
stop churning up our pitch every year move to Brentford’s new ground when it opens next season.
Reading Women boss Kelly Chambers was naturally delighted by the news of relocating to the Madejski, telling the BBC:
“We have always wanted to be in Reading and the plan for next season is we will be there. We’ve played there a few times this season and in previous ones and it will be a great way to build the fanbase. It’s a really accessible ground and I think we’d get really good support there.”
This move is a great way to attract more support for the women’s side. The current home of Adams Park isn’t too far away for Reading fans - in fact, it’s the closest Football League ground to the Madejski Stadium at a 26-mile drive - but making women’s football even closer for Loyal Royals helps out even more.
That extra support will hopefully give extra impetus to a side that’s already enjoyed success recently. Reading Women have finished fifth in consecutive seasons, although this current campaign was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic; final details around promotion, relegation and title winners are yet to be decided.
On the whole, they’ve competed commendably well in a division that has plenty of quality at the top end. For more on that, read Danyal’s review of Reading Women’s 2019/20 season here.
It’s been tougher going for Reading Women off the pitch though. In late April, the Royals became the first WSL side to furlough their players, amid financial problems prompted by Covid-19. Hopefully, however, that can all be put to bed next season with another positive season - this time back home at the Mad Stad.