Gloucester City - 3000 days in exile

Clem Fandango

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Since Meadow Park flooded in 2007, Gloucester City have shared with FGR, Cirencester and Cheltenham. Today marks three thousand days in exile. It also, weirdly, marks a year to the day that outline planning permission was granted by the council. We still don't have full planning in yet, among a ton of other stuff.

Blog from a unofficial forum about it for those interested;

http://z13.invisionfree.com/Voice_of_the_T_End/index.php?showtopic=677
 

Greenacres

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I might sound like a bit of a cynic, but I have often wondered if it had been the rugby club who had been left homeless after the flood whether they might already be playing games back in the city...given what this place is like, rugby obsessed, I have little doubt that that would be the case.

I know that you probably don't care much for the opinion of a Rover, but the sooner the Tigers are back playing in the city the better, the place needs a team that plays with the right type of ball. I wish you all the very best in making that journey back down the A40 and look forward to facing you in a pre-season friendly at Meadow Park.
 

Raymondo316

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My team spent 24 years without having our own ground so i know your pain :(

Hopefully you guys dont have to wait anywhere near that long.....them years spent at Sittingbourne & Ashford were some of the most bleak/depressing times following my club
 
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Clem Fandango

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I'm sure the rugby club would have been back within a few seasons, either in a rebuilt stadium or a totally new one. Of course there would be more external pressure to do so due to the money they bring into the City and their fanbase across the county.

But more importantly because they would put in a planning application, as they do every time for any ground amendments or improvements, that meets the council's requirements and is solely around returning them back. Not fannying about trying to build commercial properties with a football ground as an afterthought whilst being over seen by a planning consultant who happens to be best mates with the owner and also a majority shareholder on the land. There's the issue.
 

BarnwoodCTFC

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Good luck to the Tigers - my home town team - but I can't help feel the city council are dragging their feet and it's not high on their list of priorities. The rugby bias in this city is way over the top.
 

Greenacres

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Could you not have shared kingsholm

I may have this wrong, I am sure Clem will confirm, but the owners of Gloucester RFC stated that football would never be played on their pitch...given the comments you sometimes hear the rugger-buggers round here making I don't think they play much rugby on it either!

Nice idea, would have been a great gesture in an hour of need, but was never going to happen. However, if the boot had been on the other foot and the rugby club had been made homeless then I am willing to bet that the football club would have welcomed them with fairly open arms. It is a funny old World at times.
 
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Si Robin

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It was mooted on occasions, but for it to be feasible it would have had to make the Rugby club money. They were paying us £45k a year the last few years, it is allegedly considerably more this year. I'm sure I recall reading that for it to be feasible Gloucester RFC wanted upwards of £15k a game.

Then there's the pitch issue. Rugby is traditionally played on pitches with longer grass. Gloucester play on a traditional pitch. Unlike rugby clubs that play on football pitches, this would have been the complete opposite and the rugby club certainly wasn't going to pay for the pitch to be completely redone.

I have followed City's trials since the flood in 2007 very closely. I was at the friendly they had with FGR when it was announced that they would be groundsharing. Even then, a week after the flood, it felt like it would only be a season or two and the club would be back in the City. What has happened since has been nothing short of laughable (in a sick way). Areas in Gloucester were being touted, Blackfriars, the Civil Service site, Quedgeley. The one definite was that Meadow Park was out. Then all of a sudden Meadow Park was the only choice. An application was refused due to it not being put together properly (and being far too ambitious with the Commercial aspects) and then last year they finally got outline permission. Yet another year on they're no closer. They're fans have been through hell, and the really sad thing is that this whole palaver is starting to rip them apart.

Unlike some Town fans, I personally will never wish to see City turfed out of Whaddon Road, but after 5 years sharing it is frustrating seeing our, on a number of occasions, award winning pitch being practically unplayable by Christmas. Every time I see ground update on COF and Twitter I'm hoping it's a "spade in the ground" announcement. Sadly, until that day comes, City will continue struggling along at Whaddon Road in front of 4-500 fans and that is a crying shame.
 

Mark kavanagh

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15k thats madness what a shame though when the shed gets going it sounds awesome it would have been worth 6 points a season to the footy club
 

Si Robin

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The Gloucester support wouldn't have been in the Shed. They'd have been in a couple of sections of the Main Stand. Kingsholm holds 18,000 and City haven't averaged more than 5-600 for a good few years before the flood. They only open two stands at Whaddon Road for them.

Whilst the catchment area is there, potentially, City haven't had a decent following (numbers wise) since our battle for the Southern League promotion in 96/97.
 

Mark kavanagh

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Fair enough mate i didnt realise their gates are so low for a decent sized town
 

Greenacres

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Fair enough mate i didnt realise their gates are so low for a decent sized town
Gloucester itself is a city of at least 125k people, which should be easily large enough to support a fairly decent sized football team, it is certainly somewhat larger than Cheltenham if you take in the suburbs to the south that are rapidly expanding. However the problem for Gloucester is that their crowds have suffered by them not being at home in the city, I don't doubt that they would be somewhat higher if they were playing home games at home and not on the road.
 

Aber gas

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Gloucester itself is a city of at least 125k people, which should be easily large enough to support a fairly decent sized football team, it is certainly somewhat larger than Cheltenham if you take in the suburbs to the south that are rapidly expanding. However the problem for Gloucester is that their crowds have suffered by them not being at home in the city, I don't doubt that they would be somewhat higher if they were playing home games at home and not on the road.
A lot of people in Gloucester are gas or city though and then there is the rugby domination. It has a big enough population to have a side but I'm not sure there is the will for a well supported side in the city which is a shame.
 

Si Robin

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Are they? Having grown up in Churchdown and spending the vast majority of my childhood in Gloucester, can safely say that I knew of one Bristol Rovers fan and absolutely no Bristol City fans.

The problem with Gloucester is the same as Cheltenham and every other town or city without a decent sized club. The Premiership rules. I was one of two Cheltenham fans in my year at secondary school and I knew one City fan. Every single other football follower supported a Premiership club, a couple of Villa fans, one or two Spurs fans, a few Newcastle and the rest were Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal. Oh, an one Blackburn Rovers fan. On a Saturday and Sunday the pubs in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury are full of people watching football and cheering on one of those big clubs. Even before games at Whaddon Road when the lunchtime match is being shown, if it's one of the big 4 you can guarantee goals would be cheered just as vociferously as if CTFC had scored an hour or so later.

The reason clubs like Cheltenham, Gloucester and FGR will struggle for fans is that we have to convince these armchair supporters that it's better to spend upwards of £20 a game to stand in the cold watching a lower standard of football than £20 a month sitting in your comfy armchair, with a beer in hand, watching World class players.
 

Harrier94

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Are they? Having grown up in Churchdown and spending the vast majority of my childhood in Gloucester, can safely say that I knew of one Bristol Rovers fan and absolutely no Bristol City fans.

The problem with Gloucester is the same as Cheltenham and every other town or city without a decent sized club. The Premiership rules. I was one of two Cheltenham fans in my year at secondary school and I knew one City fan. Every single other football follower supported a Premiership club, a couple of Villa fans, one or two Spurs fans, a few Newcastle and the rest were Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal. Oh, an one Blackburn Rovers fan. On a Saturday and Sunday the pubs in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury are full of people watching football and cheering on one of those big clubs. Even before games at Whaddon Road when the lunchtime match is being shown, if it's one of the big 4 you can guarantee goals would be cheered just as vociferously as if CTFC had scored an hour or so later.

The reason clubs like Cheltenham, Gloucester and FGR will struggle for fans is that we have to convince these armchair supporters that it's better to spend upwards of £20 a game to stand in the cold watching a lower standard of football than £20 a month sitting in your comfy armchair, with a beer in hand, watching World class players.

That's the same issue with us. When you have Wolves, Villa, West Brom and Birmingham all within a reasonable distance as well as the big premiership teams that everyone else follows, it's hard to attract armchair fans to your club
 

Mark kavanagh

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Try having liverpool and everton 3 miles away, we are only saved by our seperate town status shielded by being on the opposite side of the river , if it wasnt for that we would be a suburb of liverpool,by now and tranmere would probably be defunct.

Liverpools new stand is so big you can actually see it from new brighton despite there being a half mile wide river seperating it and it being a mile within the boundaries of liverpool...... They are getting closer all the time
 

Greenacres

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A lot of people in Gloucester are gas or city though and then there is the rugby domination. It has a big enough population to have a side but I'm not sure there is the will for a well supported side in the city which is a shame.

I think you hit the nail squarely on the head there. I know a few people in Gloucester who go to watch football fairly regularly and it is fair to say that there is a real mix in who they follow, a few for the Bristol clubs, Cheltenham and Swindon but also the likes of Villa and West Brom. The saddest thing you see here, often on a Saturday morning, are those waiting for a coach to take them to games at Anfield and Old Trafford, I would guess that most of them don't have a northern accent. As for well supported, maybe not thousands of fans, but Gloucester should easily increase their average gates when they do return as not everyone round here wants to watch rugby.
 

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Going through what I shall politely refer too as 'stadia issues' ourselves I can only sympathise with the Gloucester fans. Despite losing out homes in different ways (in Gloucester's case a natural disaster, in ours a wholly unnatural disaster) I fear the worst case scenario is we end up like them or Hendon, (or how Maidstone & Wealdstone were before getting new grounds) & ground hop our way to oblivion.
 

BarnwoodCTFC

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Living in Gloucester the place is rugby mad, those who like football tend to either support Cheltenham or one of the Premiership sides, I don't see that changing once the side comes home but their hardcore support deserve a return to the city. Cheltenham is quite similar, a large town with a similar population to Gloucester yet a significant proportion of fans don't come from the town because most people there are rugby mad.
 

Clem Fandango

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I don't believe most of the stuff said about the rugby club. I know a meeting occurred a year or so after the floods when Tom Walkinshaw was the main man and the figure then was around 100K a season. Not too bad. Never happened. Ryan Walkinshaw has always said that the football club has never made a proper approach to sharing there. Why would he lie? The only place that has ever properly been considered to go back to is Meadow Park and that is because the owners wish to get return of his investment.

We have a decent sized dormant support, the majority of which won't go over to Cheltenham or wherever unless it's a big game. Some have never been since we left Meadow Park. Since we've been in exile despite usually low gates we've not actually had an away team bring more fans than us which considering we've played FC United, Chester, FGR in the cup is pretty good. If we get a fair crack of the whip we'd be getting double figures easily. As it is we are 9 and a bit seasons in exile and continually in a relegation scrap. Not exactly going to pull in the crowds that.

As for premiership fans every city and town pretty much struggles with the same thing. The difference is that they have no real local alternative anyway because of our exile.
 

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