Mean on Monday: Chance to give Tigers legacy they deserve
FIVE years ago, Gloucester City Football Club's ground was submerged in the floods that devastated our county.
Since then, they have been playing in a nomadic existence on different grounds.
For two of those years, the Gloucester City Football Club Task and Finish Group has met to get a grip on how to get the club back to its rightful home at Meadow Park.
Flood defence precautions are obviously complex and it is acknowledged the ground in Hempsted poses real problems of flood risk for the area, particularly for the businesses there and the residents.
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But you would think that a group made up of senior councillors, the Environment Agency (the flood experts) and the club could in two years ensure that the Tigers were back home where they belong.
And tomorrow evening, the city council's planning committee will be considering the latest position on the club's journey to get outline planning permission to start work on their new £5million stadium.
To me, it does seem quite extraordinary that after such a long period of deliberation, the way forward is still not clear to everyone and agreed.
It now appears the Environment Agency needs further clarity on the design and building of the flood defences at the proposed new ground.
Why at this stage, after two years of talking and something like £250,000 being spent on flood defence reports by the club, is the future of this great little club still in the balance?
With the planning committee meeting tomorrow evening, this is not a time for division in the ranks.
There appears to be huge frustration with the Environment Agency in terms of decision making and advice on the flood prevention.
There is also concern that the council has perhaps been tardy in some areas, although it is accepted that councillors are very supportive.
As the Government is inclined to say these days, we are all in this together and the blame game must certainly not be on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting.
But what must be on the agenda is a solid resolution by the councilors not to let these plans be submerged when everyone really wants a positive outcome.
Clearly, the club wish to now have a strong vote of confidence to continue their costly journey to planning permission. It just cannot be "minded to" approve their plans – it must be far stronger than that. This is no kind of solid support for our community in this Olympic year of sport.
Is it actually realistic – after two years of talking – for the main man bankrolling the club, Eamonn McGurk, who has already spent £250,000 on flood defence reports, to continue to plough money into a new stadium plan which may never become a reality?
No, it is definitely not.
It is difficult to get Eamonn to talk to me. He is not a man who puts his head over the parapet, but is persuaded to because of the importance of this project for Gloucester.
He is proud of his roots in Gloucester – he was actually born here and took over the running of the family business from his father at 19, and has built that business up to the point where the companies turn over in excess of £20million a year and employ over 300 people.
"Since becoming involved with the club in 1996, the family's spend is well in excess of £1million," he tells me as we look over the overgrown ground.
Eamonn believes that with the new stadium built, Gloucester City could be in the Football League with him as chairman.
"I think it could be very fast – I sit there quietly waiting for my chance," he said.
I believe he could and those associated with this club believe so too.
The city councillors, tomorrow evening, have the chance of giving real support to a club which can be a huge pillar of our sporting community. Just like Gloucester Rugby. They must not let that chance slip.