National League South side Gloucester City are to finally return home after receiving backing from the council.
The club haven’t played football in the town since they were forced out of Meadow Park in 2007 when floods that summer saw the ground almost 8 feet under water.
— Football Grounds (@YardOfGrass) April 6, 2014
Gloucester City – Following the floods of summer 2007, Meadow Park was almost 8 feet under water. pic.twitter.com/NV67Z0HMHM
— Conference Football (@InsideTheConf) March 22, 2014
With it being the third time in 17 years that it has happened as well as contamination by sewage water, the club had no choice but to abandon the ground for the foreseeable future.
In between then and now, the have played their ‘home’ games at Forest Green Rovers (2007-08), Cirencester Town (2008-10), Cheltenham Town (2010-17) and their current home Evesham United since 2017.
Click the link below to find out more 👇https://t.co/7xyy2fraIG
— Gloucester City AFC (@GCAFCofficial) September 28, 2018
This afternoon, the club released a statement announcing that the City Council had “unanimously passed a motion to support the club’s planned return home and called on local people and businesses to back the club, in a move which was welcomed by all at Gloucester City AFC.”
The statement went on to read: “This Council: welcomes the progress made by Gloucester City Football Club in working towards a return to playing at Meadow Park, including groundworks to raise the level of the pitch and the relocation of the telecommunications mast; supports the Club’s ambition to be playing back in Gloucester for the 2019/20 season; will support funding applications by the Club to the Football Association and other funders to help finance the new stadium; calls upon businesses, individuals, the local media and other key stakeholders in the city to get behind the club to finally bring an end to its years in exile.”
Cllr Paul James (Con. Longlevens) said: “I have long said that it is an embarrassment to Gloucester that our football club has been playing outside the city for so long. That said, it is important that we don’t dwell on what has happened in the past but unite behind the club to get it back playing at Meadow Park as soon as possible. I have never pretended to be a huge football fan, but I know how much it means to people in the city to have their club back home. I have been impressed with the energy and enthusiasm displayed by the board in recent times and the progress the team has shown under Marc Richards management. Fans have been extremely patient and I understand and share their frustration, but I really believe things are happening now and we all need to do our bit to get this project over the line.”
Gloucester City AFC Chairman Rod Jenner said: “Everyone at the club is grateful and appreciative of the support shown by the council’s motion. Cllr James has clearly seen the progress we have made and it is a testament to the hard work which has been going on behind the scenes that they have confidence in us to deliver the stadium. We wholeheartedly agree with the call for local people, businesses and influencers to support the club and we are always looking for new supporters and sponsors to be part of our journey home. This Club has been through a whirlwind of change in the past year, with many people doubting us bouncing back from such a position. However, we’ve worked hard to install procedures of best practice and are now looking ahead instead of just treading water. With the additions made to the Club infrastructure in recent months and even this past week with Alex Petheram’s appointment to the board, this Council motion shows the faith that the City leaders have in the club. We are really gathering tangible momentum now and with progress at Meadow Park coming along every day, it’s plain for all to see that Gloucester City is definitely coming home and that’s the bottom line.”
After years of pushing for a return home, in 2016, Gloucester City Council voted to approve the latest application to the return to Meadow Park.
Work is currently underway to raise the level of the ground, away from any possible future flooding, prior to construction work beginning on the new stadium.
The club also stated in the statement that they will be releasing the plans for the amended scheme to its supporters and the general public next week.