National League North club Gloucester City are to groundshare with Evesham United next season.
It will be Gloucester’s fourth groundshare since a 2007 flood forced them out of Meadow Park, their home stadium since 1986.
Evesham United chairman Jim Cockerton said the agreement was a “business decision” as he believed the move would be a financial boost for the club.
“It is great news financially,” he said. “I expect there will be one or two people who will say it will create extra wear on the pitch, but this is a business decision that we have taken as a committee. “They have an option for two years if their ground isn’t ready, so we will do our best to welcome them and make their stay as enjoyable as possible.”
Gloucester City Football Club have issued the following statement with regards to the groundshare agreement for the 2017/18 season.
We can confirm that we have agreed a ground share with Evesham United for next season. The deal is for one season, but we have agreed an option for a second year should that be necessary.
We fully appreciate that this is a longer distance for fans to travel, but must stress that there are no options closer to home with the required grading. Even taking voluntary relegation (which we do not believe is in the best interests of the club) would not open other suitably graded options within the City.
We believe that this club, which has represented the City for over 130 years, is worth fighting for and we will fight tooth and nail to keep it playing at as high a level as possible.
We will of course look at ways to help fans with transport to and from games, but would urge all those who support this club to continue that fight. Our fans have always been a massive asset and we need their support now as we have throughout our exile.
With regards to the building of our new ground we are seeking details of timelines from our owner, and will look to share that as soon as we can. Everyone is very seized of the need to return this club to the City and the continuing damage of our exile.
Chairman Mike Dunstan said: “I would like to thank Evesham United for extending a hand of friendship to us in this difficult time, and look forward to working with them.”
Evesham will now embark on the relatively small schedule of works required to bring their ground up to the required standard for National League North Football.
There is a robust plan in place and expert advice has been sought to ensure that we meet the ground grading requirements ahead of 31 March, which is the deadline for reaching the relevant standard.
We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Cheltenham Town for their continued help over the seasons we have groundshared at Whaddon Road.