Elm Park

Elm Park was a football stadium in the West Reading district of the English town of Reading. It was the home of Reading Football Club from 1896 until 1998, when they moved to the new Madejski Stadium.

The ground was situated between Norfolk Road to the north and Tilehurst Road to the south, and between Wantage Road to the west and Suffolk Road to the east. The site is now occupied by a new housing estate, also called Elm Park.

History

Reading F.C. were formed in 1871. Initially they played at various existing grounds in Reading, including Reading Recreation Ground, Reading Cricket Ground, Coley Park Recreation Ground and Caversham Cricket Ground. The switch to professionalism in 1895 resulted in the need for a bigger ground and the club moved to the purpose-built Elm Park on 5th September 1896. They were to remain there for over 100 years.

The ground's record attendance was set at a 5th round FA Cup game against Brentford F.C. in 1927, with 33,042 people present. Reading beat Brentford to progress to the 6th round for the first time.

However by 1995, the club had been promoted to Division One and harboured ambitions for promotion to the Premier League. This introduced a requirement for the club to play at an all-seater stadium, and it was determined that Elm Park was unsuitable to be so converted. The club, led by its chairman John Madejski, identified a new site at Smallmead near Junction 11 of the M4 motorway, and in 1996 work started on building the new Madejski Stadium.

The last competitive match at Elm Park took place on 3 May 1998, between Reading and Norwich City. Norwich won 1-0. Relocation to the Madejski Stadium took place at the beginning of the 1998-99 season and the Elm Park stadium was demolished soon afterwards to make way for the new housing estate.