Gloucester City Football Club hasn’t been the same since the devastating floods that swept the city in 2007. The destruction of their former stadium – Meadow Park – has seen them ground hop around Gloucestershire playing at The New Lawn – home of Forest Green Rovers and Cirencester’s Corinium Stadium, before making themselves at home in Cheltenham at Whaddon Road.
However, after seven years sharing a stadium with the Robins, Gloucester will be moving once again for the 2017-18 season. Having agreed a deal to leave the county and share with Evesham United, Chairman Mike Dunstan is predicting a vibrant atmosphere:
“We’ve put some really good terracing behind the one goal, people can go on all four sides, whereas here (Whaddon Road) it’s not cost effective to open up two of the sides.
“It’ll feel like a traditional Gloucester City game and people will be able to go where they want, when they want, there are bars inside as well so it’s positive, but the only downside is that it’s not in Gloucester, and that’s what we’re all aiming for!”
There are still nine games left in this current season however, and after their 1-1 draw with Harrogate Town at the weekend, they move within eight points of the play-off spots. Derby County loanee and former Cheltenham Town graduate Luke Thomas was named Man of the Match, and Tim Harris has been mightily impressed with the youngster’s performances and attitude since he joined on loan in January:
“You’ve got to look at the talent that the lad has got and I said in the week, what worries me is the physicality of him. He’s not very big in structure and he’s handled it superbly. Once again today he’s shown some great skills, some great talent and he’s always a threat. People who don’t come and watch, should come and watch because he’s a very, very talented player and I think he’s got a great future ahead of him.”
With both manager and chairman looking ahead to next season, Dunstan revealed his expectations and explained his club’s current situation into perspective:
“The first aim is to survive. To put it in context, there are teams with budgets with four, five times ours in this league, so you’ve always got to say we need to survive, but what i think we’ve shown this year is that we’ve got a really good bunch of really good, really young raw players who can get the ball down and play some exciting football.
“It doesn’t always happen, sometimes it doesn’t quite come off, but they’re an exciting group of players and as long as we can keep them together I think we can look for another very positive season, some good football and a good, positive league position.”
Dunstan also outlined the importance of Gloucester manager Tim Harris in the club’s revival, and how influential he will be in the future.
“Tim has got Gloucester City written all over him and he does so much for us in terms of getting the players on the pitch, he’s so thorough with that, he’s got really good coaching staff around him. But also the commercial side, he does a lot to project the image of the club so he’s absolutely vital to this club, and we can’t thank him enough for the work he does.”
The Tigers’ new ground should be completed by the summer of 2018, although it has been consistently delayed due to complications with the Gloucester City Council. However, staff and fans alike will surely be looking forward to the day they can return to their beloved City.