Citizen Editor: Tigers' ambitious plans must be embraced
TODAY The Citizen renews the campaign to Bring The Tigers Home – helping our own football team Gloucester City back to the city after the floods which devastated their ground five years ago.
Yes, Gloucester is a rugby city but we have a great football club and, unashamedly, The Citizen today devotes a great deal of space in the paper to hopefully hammer home this message.
At stake is the very future of a club which, since the floods of 2007, has been playing in a nomadic existence around the county.
As the club's consultant Colin Peake writes eloquently on the opposite page: "Your city football club has been like a tribe of wandering nomads across the county since then.
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"Despite all they have had to endure, those running the club have stayed strong."
Matt Phillips, chairman of Gloucester City AFC Supporters' Trust perhaps sums up the feelings of The Citizen best when he talked to us about the city council's planning committee meeting next Tuesday evening to consider the club's application for a new stadium on its former Meadow Park ground.
"This is our opportunity to leave a legacy for the city of Gloucester, to have a club on our doorstep which educates and inspires our young sports people, unites our communities and attracts trade and visitors to our city.
"It isn't just about football. It's about being proud of our city, being ambitious about what we can achieve and about how the country perceives us.
"The City Council has been incredibly supportive of us so far and I have faith in them to make a decision which will allow us to come home sooner rather than later."
Spot on Matt. This is about pride in our city. It's about pride in our football club and creating an interest in soccer in a city that is known countrywide as one of the great bastions of rugby.
The Citizen is not an expert in flood defences. It is highly complex.
But over the last few years, the club, the city council and the Environment Agency have worked well together to get to the stage where they now feel comfortable that they can hear a planning application to take the vision of the new £5million stadium forward.
We have every confidence that the planning committee will make the right decision.
But they and the Environment Agency, who are the other partners in this dream, must realise that The Tigers are not Manchester United. They do not have unlimited cash to keep producing costly flood defence reports at the drop of a hat.