Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Fun on our big day out - AFCB love a big crowd

The travelling fans at the Reading match was quite something to be a part of. I travelled up with my sons, Robert and Stephen, fairly early because we were worried about getting a parking spot having heard about the high fees that were being posted about in the official car parks. We headed across country from our Surrey base to the M25 and M4 and were in Reading within the hour and soon found a residential street just five minutes away from the Madejski stadium (no clues here where it was - I  might need it next season).
Robert and Stephen race ahead to the stadium's sign post.
Reading is adorned with some retail parks all around the stadium so my two were right at home visiting on the toy and computer shops before the game, and we also saw a good number of AFCB fans sampling the fast food outlets. As we headed up the hill to the ground it was very apparent that there would be a lot of red and black scalves being held up high. As we had not been to the Madejski before, we decided that we would have a walk around the perimeter and it was a journey that took a little while. First up was the impressive height of the club hotel with its own entrance, followed by the club shop which we were pleased to see was not as big as the one at the Goldsands stadium. We had a sneaky look inside to see the usual paraphernalia and as there was nothing I could tempt the boys to buy we headed on further round the ground.
Kingsley Bear! High five time.

I might have to make the boys have their picture with
every away mascot if it helps AFCB win more often!
That is when we bumped into Mr and Mrs Kingsley Bear. I don't know their first names but Robert and Stephen were happy enough to be photographed with them as they added two more mascots to their collection. The full car park had streams of AFCB supporters walking over to the stadium gates, while the early arrivals were having a shooting contest with the blow up goals having targets inside them to aim at. Things then got noisy as we passed a steel band and headed towards the burger vans. It was a pretty impressive stadium from the outside and having gone through the electronic gate we headed on up to our seats which were very spacious and just behind the away goal on the left.

I should have practised hitting the cross bar for the
cross bar challenge - opportunity missed!
Musical band.
Almost completed the tour around the outside of the Madejski.
I spotted a couple of friends and we were soon chatting about how we thought AFCB would set up and what our prospects were. For once I felt confident and had a good feeling. With 2300 or so supporters standing with me, you have to feel confident don't you. I think it was the same for the players, because when they came out they just kept staring up at the huge away support. And just how many renditions of keep the red flag flying high did we do? The Reading fans to our right were keen to give us a good bit of banter, asking if we were 'on our big day out' and showing their dislike of seasiders. But it was us who had the last laugh and before the end of the game we were singing 'Cherrio!'.

I was so glad that after the game we had just the walk to the car rather than the queue for the bus back to the railway station. Two feet were certainly the quickest form of transport out of the stadium. It was a superb day and obviously the result was fitting for us and for the way the team played, even if I was a bit nervous when Adam Le Fondre popped up as usual to ruin AFCB's clean sheet, but there were only one group of supporters smiling after the game. I wish I could just bottle that support and bring some of that noise home to the Goldsands stadium, because that is the atmosphere we need at home games too.
Stephen and Robert do like playing away!

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