Fans of flood hit club issue appeal for help
Flood water rushed into the stadium on the evening of Sunday 22 July and by the following morning the water stood more than eight feet deep. The River Severn had engulfed all corners of the ground, swamping the entire playing pitch and reaching as high as the crossbars on the goalposts. Water entered the clubhouse, changing rooms, catering and kitchen facilities, hospitality areas and the club's merchandise shop. Although some valuables could be removed from the ground the fast rising water levels meant volunteers were unable to rescue much before police evacuated the Hempsted area where the ground is located.
Phil Warren, chairman of the Gloucester City Supporters Trust, said:
"The flooding has been extensive and it may yet be several days before we're able to get into Meadow Park to properly evaluate the damage. The ground has been under deep floodwater for more than a week and we are expecting the worst. The repair work will range from the arduous task of mopping up and disinfecting of the stadium to the likely complete renovation of the electrics and floodlight system and replacement of catering facilities.
"We know that the city's residents and businesses have been hard hit and we understand that the football club cannot be their priority as they struggle to get back to normal life. Many of our fans and potential sponsors have also been badly affected by what has been a catastrophe of an unprecedented scale in this area. For that reason we are appealing to the generosity of the football community across the country and ask for their help and donations to try and put the club back on it's feet. We have received some money and messages of good will already. These are hugely encouraging, but we will need more."
The BGB Southern League Premier club itself is privately owned but fans have worked hard through a democratically elected Supporters Trust to assist in the day to day running of the club and to raise money to support it. Fan's giving has exceeded £210,000 since 2001 and has funded the club's youth team and paid bills including physio and medical supplies, electricity and pitch maintenance. The Trust itself raises some of its money through sale of merchandising and has been hard hit by the loss of stock and damage to the club shop building itself. Previous incidents have meant that the club has been unable to obtain insurance and now faces a huge clear-up bill to return Meadow Park to a state where it can again host football matches.
Phil Warren continued:
"Through our Trust the fans had helped rescue this club from the point of extinction, an incredible fundraising effort and success story for Gloucester. After a summer where volunteers have worked long hours renovating and painting the ground and where we have spent fans' donations on improving the stadium and pitch this does seem like a real kick in the teeth. However, the club has already been through a lot and our fans must be amongst the most resolute and determined anywhere. I hope with the help of other football fans and the local community we can come back from this latest setback all the stronger."
Those able to make donations are asked to send cheques made payable to 'Gloucester City Supporters Ltd.' to: Trevor King, Gloucester City Supporters Trust Treasurer, 27 Buckholt Way, Brockworth, Gloucester, GL3 4RH.
Alternatively donations can be made direct via online bank transfer to: Gloucester City Supporters Ltd, Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank, Bootle, Sort Code 72-00-03, Account Number 89485489, and quoting reference 'Cleanup Fund'; or on the internet via Paypal with payments made to [email protected].