Citizen editor: Whether or not you're a Gloucester City fan, we should all back our local club
IN the middle of last year, The Citizen launched a campaign to bring our football club Gloucester City home to where they belong – in the heart of the city.
We called it Bring The Tigers Home.
It was backed by some of the most passionate fans you will see anywhere and, in a city obsessed by Gloucester Rugby, that is saying something.
In the finality, we have to say that the campaign failed. It failed not because of fan enthusiasm. It failed because it seemed there were unsurmountable planning obstacles in the way of the development of a new £5million stadium on the site of their Meadow Park ground.
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Those obstacles really revolved around the flood risks that had submerged the ground during the catastrophic floods of 2007, and opposition and problems over plans to build a new ground with adequate flood-relief precautions. That is now literally water under the bridge.
What is far more serious is that this famous old club could be only a month away from going out of business.
And we must not let that happen.
Whether you support The Tigers or not is really not the issue. The issue here is that we – and that means the city council, local businesses and the community – get together to ensure this club actually has a ground to play on.
It simply cannot go on "squatting" at Cheltenham Town's ground and running up thousands of pounds of debt in rent because Meadow Park has not been playable on since the floods.
The club's benefactor, plant hire boss Eamonn McGurk, has probably ploughed nearly £1,350,000 into the club over the years and cannot continue to do so. He cannot afford to top up the coffers when faced with a return of just £21 after one recent match when all the overheads were paid.
What is needed now is a concerted effort by local business, backed by the city council, to save this proud club from going out of business.
Can you help The Tigers survive? Contact me at Ian.Mean@glosmedia.co.uk.