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steve roberts

Smallmead Stadium

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Just received my latest edition of 'Backtrack' and there's an interesting article about Smallmead Stadium as told by Reg Fearman (also read the same story in his most interesting book).

 

Allied Presentations sought and received a 99 year lease on the site back in 1974 but somewhere along the line this was reduced to something like a 35 year lease (after Reg had long left). Basically the Reading fans were 'sold down the river' by the then promotion. The site of the stadium is apparently still undeveloped after being demolished in 2008/9...a real sad state of affairs!

 

At least Oxford still has a stadium but for how long I wonder?

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Allied Presentations sought and received a 99 year lease on the site back in 1974 but somewhere along the line this was reduced to something like a 35 year lease (after Reg had long left).

 

Didn't fulfil the conditions of the original lease, allegedly... Heard it was something to do with not fencing the perimeter.

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Didn't fulfil the conditions of the original lease, allegedly... Heard it was something to do with not fencing the perimeter.

 

Didn't Bill Dore trade in the longer lease for a shorter one, to get a rent reduction?

 

All the best

Rob

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Yep still undeveloped in a well-developed area, Kennet Island housing estate, and Green Park Business Park, nearby. A right eyesore. Good memories of Smallmead, last visited 2007 with the Robins.

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Yes some great memories! Oxford were the first team to beat Reading at Smallmead...albeit in a challenge match!

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I have good memories of both tilehurst and smallmead. Both were pretty sparse stadiums and both attracted really big crowds in the boom time of the 1970's. Smallmead was the better shaped track, tilehurst was too flat for my liking, although it did have a great chip shop opposite the stadium. I wonder if it's still there!

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I have good memories of both tilehurst and smallmead. Both were pretty sparse stadiums and both attracted really big crowds in the boom time of the 1970's. Smallmead was the better shaped track, tilehurst was too flat for my liking, although it did have a great chip shop opposite the stadium. I wonder if it's still there!

I, too, remember both tracks. I think that Smallmead was based on Ipswich (?) and originally produced some good racing. Unfortunately in later years the track was often very slick and devoid of shale. Remember one morning meeting where you couldn't see anything due to almighty dust clouds!

 

Remember 'Soldier Boy' participating in the end of season frolics at Tilehurst when he was involved with the 'tug of war' and got smothered in flour for his troubles!

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I think there were several times that Reading had to do things to their stadium to comply with the lease, and rather than get them done they sold more and more years off the lease each time.

 

Then, with not many years left, they got out.

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I think there were several times that Reading had to do things to their stadium to comply with the lease, and rather than get them done they sold more and more years off the lease each time.

 

Then, with not many years left, they got out.

 

Shame Brian Leonard didn't up end as the speedway promoter, after his year alongside Dore and Bliss in 1987. Things may have gone down a bit different path. Dore was the dogs man. Leonard was passionate about the speedway. Hence Per Jonsson trying setting that track record in 1987, because Brian Leonard spent money on the track that year to get it right and it wasn't its usual slick self.

 

All the best

Rob

Edited by lucifer sam

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The lease was reduced, never quite got to the bottom of the reason. Some say it was because the terms of it wasn't adhered to, others say Allied Presentations cashed it in to keep Speedway afloat during some lean years.

 

It was a fantastic track though and produced some great racing when prepared correctly. The stadium itself always looked temporary, but it held many happy and a few sad memories for lots of us. It's a crying shame to see the land stood as a waste ground now :( Used currently as an overflow car park for the football stadium and as a paradise for fly tippers!

 

There were plans submitted last year to build on the land. An ice rink I believe, I remember rumours of an ice rink in the town being around for a good 30 years though, so whether that ever comes off who knows. The land allocated just north of Smallmead for the new stadium is now being developed into commercial units (Cheers for that Stadia UK!!)

 

The quest to bring the Racers back is building momentum now though and a supporters trust is in the process of being formed with the support and advice provided from the Cradley fans. Give us a like and help spread the word!

 

https://www.facebook.com/Reading-Speedway-Action-Group-490790471107024/?fref=ts

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Always enjoyed visists to Smallmead, when sometimes it got a bit spicy on and off track and it provided one of my best memories in speedway:

 

British League: 22 Oct 1984: Reading 32 v 46 Ipswich.

 

No need to add anything else. Thank you Smallmead.

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Always enjoyed visists to Smallmead, when sometimes it got a bit spicy on and off track and it provided one of my best memories in speedway:

 

British League: 22 Oct 1984: Reading 32 v 46 Ipswich.

 

No need to add anything else. Thank you Smallmead.

Anything to do with Billy Sanders?

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Anything to do with Billy Sanders?

 

Yes indeed Steve. One of the happiest days of my life, and his - captaining his beloved Witches to a league title - followed by a Cup double initiated by a 33 - 45 away win at Hyde Road on the Saturday, five days after the league title was won at Smallmead. Happy days which were to come to an end tragically, less than six months later. Seeing his beaming face as the Witches team walked a lap of honour, and us exchanging a hug and me saying "I'm so pleased for you, that should make Mr Berry stop criticising you for only wanting to race when you are wearing an Australian race jacket", and his, "We'll see mate" followed by a wink, will stay for me forever.

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Yes indeed Steve. One of the happiest days of my life, and his - captaining his beloved Witches to a league title - followed by a Cup double initiated by a 33 - 45 away win at Hyde Road on the Saturday, five days after the league title was won at Smallmead. Happy days which were to come to an end tragically, less than six months later. Seeing his beaming face as the Witches team walked a lap of honour, and us exchanging a hug and me saying "I'm so pleased for you, that should make Mr Berry stop criticising you for only wanting to race when you are wearing an Australian race jacket", and his, "We'll see mate" followed by a wink, will stay for me forever.

I recall the incident when Billy had a 'disagreement' with a fan at Smallmead who was hurling abuse at him...and Billy gave his a good thump for his troubles!

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When Stevenage played at Reading in the FA Cup a few years back we parked in what was Smallmead. Real shame that the place went to waste.

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