A Tribute To Elm Park
The Last League Game in words and pictures...

So that's that then: no more proper football at Elm Park - although we may still see a few friendlies there before next season kicks off. Next season Reading will of course be playing their Second Division football at the rather impressive brand next Madejski Stadium. However the 3rd of May 1998 saw a goodbye forever to Elm Park - Reading's home for over a hundred years, and a temporary goodbye to Division One football. The actual game was a dissapointment all ways round - you can read the match report elsewhere on these pages - a 0-1 home defeat wasn't the right way to say goodbye to a ground that meant so much to so many people.

The following piccies will hopefully bring back memories of some great times at Elm Park. Each piccie is fairly small so this page downloads but please just get that cursor over each one and click that button to see a nice full screen version. Here it is: the last league game at Elm Park:

Going In!

Entering the Southbank for the last time

The Southbank turnstiles. Nine quid for adults and six quid for kids. What a bargain. The turnstiles won't be rusty at the new ground. And you'll almost certainly be handing over a pre-purchased ticket rather than a tenner.

The Burger Van and the Golden Gamble Seller

The kind of catering no Reading fan will be likely to enjoy in the same way again. Those ridiculously big sausages with extra onion and ketchup for a simply irresistable two quid. Rated this season as the 84th best food out of England's 93 grounds. We'll be able to buy pies next season - but it won't be the same!

And the Golden Gamble ticket. Enter the ground with a tenner and hand over your quid change for a yellow ticket that you rip up at half time after missing out yet again by 50 numbers on over a grand jackpot. Part of the Elm Park experience.


Walking into the Southbank

So this is what my feet felt like walking down through the entrance into the heart of the South Bank each week. The results of taking in my disposable camera actually and not deliberate. But check out that yellow barrier. No yellow barriers to lean on in the Madejski Stadium you know.

The players come on

Reading take the pitch before the game gets underway, that'll no doubt be Parkie legging it on to take the applause of the Tilehurst end.

Nice tartan hat too.

The away (town) end

No longer will away fans have to stand out in the open. No longer will we be able to sing "You're getting wet, we're not". The Norwich supporters join in with a sea of yellow and green, and look carefully and you'll see Fred and Barney from the Flintstones. No, really.

The pitch invasion

The last ever pitch invasion at Elm Park. But nothing like the memorable ones. Remember the Second Division title, everyone on the pitch, and McGhee singing "We are the Champions"? That moment almost makes me want to forgive the Fat Scottish one.

The Southbank

So this is what it looks like from the pitch! Where Reading fans have stood for over a hundred years to watch the Royals. Soon to be demolished and will be replaced with houses.

The turf fight

Honest. It didn't exactly come out on film, but at the final whistle lumps of turf went flying through the air and everyone was showered in mud.

The last bit of excitement at Elm Park before everyone started filtering out of the ground, grabbing bits of it as they left in some cases. Goodbye Elm Park.



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