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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 06:26 GMT 07:26 UK
Madejski ponders ground expansion
By John Sinnott

John Madejski
Madejski has been Reading chairman since 1990
Chairman John Madejski plans to increase the capacity of Reading's stadium - if the club retain their place in the Premiership next season.

He told BBC Sport: "We have a very nice stadium, with a capacity of 24,700 seats, which we know we can fill.

"And if we are lucky enough to stay up next year, we'll increase the capacity.

"Every new seat you put in costs 1,000. We may take up the capacity a few thousand at a time but we could take it up to 40,000."

Madejski has barely had time to celebrate the club's promotion to the top flight or Saturday's 5-0 win over Derby, which confirmed Reading as champions, as he prepares for the brave new world of the Premiership.

It absolutely petrifies me that everything has so many noughts behind it when you get into the Premiership
Reading chairman John Madejski

Top of his in-tray is sorting out a new one-year contract for manager Steve Coppell, although Madejski would like him to sign a longer deal.

Madejski said: "It is a question of negotiating with Steve Coppell's agent the package that is going to suit both sides.

"The negotiations have begun. Steve likes to sign one year at a time, not for any other reason than he is a very honest and straightforward gentlemen.

"He doesn't want to sign any more than a year - just in case things don't happen the way he would expect them.

"If we had not got promotion it would have been highly unlikely he would have stayed for another season.

"He would not want to be here because the contract says he has got to be here.

"He takes contracts very seriously, which is refreshing. A lot of managers would want a contract for as long as they could get but Steve is the opposite."

Madejski said former England international Coppell has no desire to succeed Sven-Goran Eriksson as the next England boss.

He added: "I think he would make a fantastic coach for England but he would not like the profile of the job and that would preclude him from even being considered for the job.

"I've asked him and he has given me the indication he wouldn't be interested."

As well as negotiating Coppell's contract, Madejski is also intent on developing the current squad, which has lost only two Championship matches on the way to securing promotion and winning the title.

"If we are good enough to get to the Premiership, hopefully we are good enough to stay there," stated Madejski .

"We know we have to strengthen in some areas and we will do just that but we won't change the squad totally.

"We've got the makings of a good, tight squad already - they feed off each other. There is a really old-fashioned esprit de corps of working for each other and I hope that continues next season.

"I have had some very good feedback that we should be able to sustain quite well in the Premiership.

Reading manager Steve Coppell and chairman John Madejski
Coppell has no interest in the England job, says Madejski

"We will have to wait and see on that but we will try and be credible participants."

Winning promotion has already ensured Reading's wage bill has tripled because of bonus and other contractual payments, which prompted Madejski to reveal his fears over next season.

He said: "I'm petrified - it's almost as worrying as when I took the club over all those years ago.

"It is the old adage - small business, small worries, big business, big worries. It absolutely petrifies me that everything has so many noughts behind it when you get into the Premiership.

"Everyone is after something because they think you have arrived in the land of milk and honey.

"It is my job to keep people's feet on the ground and to explain that while the dynamics are different, that doesn't mean we are awash with money - that's a very big challenge."


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