FC Halifax Town will play host to Gloucester City at The MBi Shay this weekend as the team continues their promotion push. Here are 10 things you may not have known about the Gloucestershire side.
1. Gloucester do not play in Gloucester. The club has been plagued with stadium troubles for much of their existence and the most recent cause to their problems came in 2007 when the county of Gloucestershire was hit by massive floods that sunk the team’s stadium, Meadow Park, under eight feet of water. Tim Harris’ men currently ground share with League Two side Cheltenham Town.
2. 2007 was not the first time that Meadow Park Stadium suffered from adverse weather. In 1990 Gloucester saw its worst snow in a century. When the thaw finally came the River Severn overflowed and damaged all flood plains. Meadow Park was damaged and was eventually submerged under four feet of water. The river again overflowed in 2000 and this time did more damage, reaching seven feet.
3. Cheltenham’s Whaddon Road is the 12th ground that Gloucester have called home. The aforementioned stadium troubles date all the way back to 1895 where they had to leave Buddings Field for Avenue Road Ground. A string of new grounds and eventual ground sharing deals led to Gloucester settling in at Whaddon Road since 2010. The club have submitted new plans to build a new stadium on the site of their old Meadow Park, this time raised several feet higher.
4. The club set a record 70 years inside the Southern Football League after finally clinching promotion from those leagues thanks to a Playoff final win over Farnborough in 2009. The club had previously been in the Southern Football League since 1939.
5. Despite having ground issues, the club have an impressive record attendance, but to find it you have to go all the way back to 1952 where Longlevens (Gloucester’s 7th new ground) played host to Tottenham Hotspur and held over 10,000 people.
6. In the 1989-90 season, Brian Godfrey guided the club to an impressive cup performance, leading his team all the way to the second round of the FA Cup. The Tigers were devastated after a narrow loss to Cardiff City denied them the chance to face then First Division side QPR.
7. Tom Webb is a midfielder who is still a feature within the Gloucester side and is often described as the heartbeat of their team. But the player has been there since he was a 16 year old in 2000 and has since gone on to be the clubs record appearance maker. Still playing today, Webb is a club legend for Gloucester.
8. Gloucester nearly went bankrupt in the early 2000’s when club issues just piled up. There was the flooding of their stadium, and the lack of funding meant that player’s walked out due to their wages not being met, and contract disputes over payment raged on with current and ex-players. Colin Gardner returned to the club, having previously spent time as a director, and took the Chairman role. Working with the supporters’ trust they finally fended off the financial issues and dragged the club back afloat.
9. The FA placed Gloucester in the Conference North in 2010 due to an agreement with Worcester City. The deal stated that Worcester would not be forced to return to the Northern League after their last relegation for at least three seasons without their consent. After Worcester refused a return to the North, Gloucester took its place and the long away trips began.
10. If you get tired of football in Gloucester you can always go to the annual cheese rolling festival. Every Spring bank holiday the hills of Gloucester stage an event where cheese is rolled from the top of the incline, to the bottom. People gleefully chase the cheese trying to catch it and are often injured on the way down. The festival attracts thousands of people a year.
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