Gloucester City: Tim Harris says ground approval brings new era

By Caroline ChapmanBBC Sport
Gloucester City's ground under flood water in 2007
During the 2007 floods, water reached the top of the crossbar at Meadow Park

Gloucester City's return to their own ground after a seven-year exile will bring positivity back to the club, says manager Tim Harris.

The Tigers have played away from their Meadow Park home since it was submerged by flood water in 2007.

On Tuesday, plans to rebuild the ground on its original site were approved.

"It's going to take a lot of work to get those bricks up before we can come back playing," he told BBC Sport. "But we start again in a positive light."

Since the devastation of the floods, the Conference North side have been forced to ground share with Cirencester, Forest Green and now Cheltenham - where they have rented since 2010.

The flood takes Meadow Park
Gloucester City's ground under flood water in 2007
Tim Harris was manager when Gloucester's home ground was devastated by the flooding of 2007. He recalls: "That pre-season, the ground was looking as good as I've ever seen it. The supporters had painted the whole ground yellow and black. It looked immaculate. In the space of three or four hours, the club was ruined."

The club's finances have taken a huge hit and fans had voiced their increasing frustration at being unable to watch their club play in the city.

But there were celebrations when the plans for a stadium with a capacity of 4,000 - including a 1,000-seat stand - were given the go-ahead by the city council.

"I was following it on social media and it was like a penalty shootout," said Harris, who was manager when the floods hit, and returned in February after a spell at Newport.

"The first councillor got up and spoke and it was in favour so we were one up. Then the second councillor, and so on.

"It got to a majority and it was like a scene from Only Fools and Horses,external-link when they won all that money. It meant everything to me."

The club have yet to draw up a timescale on when they will be ready to move back home and Harris is aware of the challenges that remain.

"We can't get carried away," he added. "It's a project, it's not something that's going to happen overnight.

"When I came back, this was never going to be a five minute job. We have got a clean slate but we've got an enormous amount of work to do now."

Image for new GCFC stadium
The new plans for Meadow Park include a 1,000-seat stand and a capacity of 4,000