London Irish commit to Reading ... for now
June 11, 2014
Hollow feeling ... London Irish take on Stade Francais at a sparsely populated Madejski Stadium last season © Getty Images
London Irish have committed to remaining at Reading's Madejski Stadium despite concerns over falling attendances.
Speaking to the BBC, club director Bob Casey said the venue remained sustainable and the new consortium now running London Irish had decided to remain there for "the foreseeable future".
"Our average attendance was 11,500 four years' ago," Casey said. "With the new owners and their drive then I don't see why it can't be sustainable. From a playing side it's a fantastic stadium and when we get the support it's a special place to be.
"The solution is to get the rugby right. To get the atmosphere we had four or five years ago, with the same intensity and passion and hopefully that will attract people back."
The contract with Reading FC runs until the end of the 2025-26 season but there is a break clause allowing London Irish to end the tenancy early.
With Brentford FC looking to move to a new ground in west London in two years' time, there has been speculation linking the Exiles to a groundshare there. It would certainly be nearer their spiritual home in Sunbury, and also closer to the lucrative London market.
"When you look back at when we were successful we had a real core of players coming through the academy and we want to return to that," Casey said. "We believe if London Irish is to be successful then the academy has to be at the heartbeat of everything we do."
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