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A decade at the Madejski Stadium

Madejski Stadium

By Graham McKechnie
BBC Radio Berkshire

Life at the Madejski Stadium began on 22 August 1998 when Reading beat Luton 3-0 in Division Two.

Grant Brebner, Jim McIntyre and Robert Fleck were the scorers of the first three goals at the ground.

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In the 10 years since then Reading have reached the heights of the Premier League, rugby union moved into the stadium and even Elton John performed on stage there.

BBC Radio Berkshire's Tim Dellor and Graham McKechnie pick out five days to remember from the first decade at the Madejski.

Reading 3-0 Luton Town, 22 August 1998
Robert Fleck
Robert Fleck scores Reading's third goal at the Madejski Stadium

Reading played the opening two games of the 1998/9 season away from home and lost them both.

Perhaps they could be forgiven for having one eye on the match against Luton on Saturday 22 August.

More than 18,000 people were there to welcome Reading to their new home.

Grass cuttings from Elm Park were sprinkled on the new pitch before kick off and past players paraded in front of the fans.

Within 10 minutes of kick off, Grant Brebner smashed home from a Ray Houghton corner.

Jim McIntyre and Robert Fleck added two more in the second half.

Reading 3-2 West Bromwich Albion, 17 January 2006
Leroy Lita
Lita joined Reading from Bristol City in July 2005

Reading were playing an FA Cup third-round replay against Premier League strugglers West Bromwich Albion.

They found themselves 2-0 down and looked to be going out of the cup.

Then recently-signed Leroy Lita stamped his mark on the match, scoring twice in the second half and then again in extra time to take Reading through.

They were knocked out in a replay against Birmingham in the fourth round, but that season really was not about the cup.

Reading 2-1 Queens Park Rangers, 30 April 2006
Graeme Murty
Murty has been part of Reading as long as the Madejski Stadium

In the 2005/6 season Reading rewrote the record books as they won the Championship title, and with it promotion to the Premier League.

It is difficult to sum up such a glorious season in one moment - but that day's party spirit was summed up with the second goal.

Every outfield player had scored - besides captain Graeme Murty.

With the score at 1-1 Reading won a penalty and up stepped the captain to score the club's 99th and final goal in their promotion-winning season.

Reading 3-1 Liverpool , 8 December 2007
James Harper
Beating Liverpool was a high-point of a disappointing season

Reading played all the big guns at the Madejski Stadium, during their two-year stay in the top flight.

They ran a few close - leading against Manchester United and Chelsea - but up until last December they had never beaten one of the big four in the league.

That all changed when Rafa Benitez's Liverpool came to the Madejski Stadium.

Stephen Hunt put Reading 1-0 up from the penalty spot before Steven Gerrard equalised for the visitors.

Doyle then gave Reading the lead again before Harper put the icing on the cake.

London Irish 20-9 Perpignan, 5 April 2008
Peter Hewat
Hewat kicked 15 of Irish's 20 points against Perpignan

Richmond were the first rugby team to move into the Madejski Stadium, but London Irish arrived in 2000 and are now an integral part of the set up.

Twice the stadium has been sold out for the annual St Patrick's Day Party - setting Premiership attendance records on both occasions.

But Irish's finest hour at the Madejski Stadium came in the Heineken Cup in April 2008 when they faced the great Catalan side, Perpignan.

Declan Danaher scored the only try of the match from Mike Catt's cross-field kick.

Australian full-back Peter Hewat was man-of-the-match, kicking five penalties in a superb individual display.

Irish dominated all areas of the game, with Nick Kennedy and Bob Casey imperious in the line-out.

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