The green, green grass of home... Congratulations to Gloucester City AFC
In what must rank as the footballing come back to beat all comebacks, the team banished from its stadium by the floods of 2007 surviving without its own pitch ever since now has one.
In is an extraordinary story worthy of a film, the club has been on the road ever since, playing most recently in Evesham while a dedicated few behind the scenes plotted a return to Meadow Park, the club’s home since 1986.
It has not been a journey for anyone without stamina, but under the command of Gloucestershire businessman Eamonn McGurk, and most recently also Alex Petheram, not just planning was won but the stadium near complete.
This week the club, which once vied with Cheltenham Town for status as the county’s footballing top dog, was able to reveal the laying of its pitch – a milestone we agree should be savoured and saluted.
The long awaited return to the City will soon be over ?? pic.twitter.com/6GOAliwyfx— Gloucester City AFC (@GCAFCofficial) August 11, 2020
Were visitors allowed to the Sudmeadow Road ground they would now find the bright green sheen of a freshly laid 3G pitch, just waiting for that first ball to be kicked on it.
After years of ground sharing with clubs including Cheltenham Town, Cirencester and Forest Green that first game of the 2020/2021 season will be a sweet victory from the first whistle.
Mr Petheram, who runs construction firm Soldi and is co-chairman of the club alongside Mr McGurk, has been blogging about the trials and tribulations of the project to build the stadium for months and we have been running some of those detailed articles - full of humour, emotion, frustration and determination - here on The Raikes Journal.
But when asked about the laying of the pitch he was more economical with his words.
"We’re in touching distance now. We are very proud to say Gloucester City AFC are back home in Gloucester," he said.
Next season Gloucester City AFC is expected to kick off, at home, in the Vanarama National League North under manager James Rowe.
The green green grass of home! pic.twitter.com/BCg6ax5CYX— Gloucester City AFC (@GCAFCofficial) August 11, 2020