July 22, 2007 was a day which changed Gloucester City AFC forever.\n\nWith much of Gloucestershire already underwater as the River Severn burst its banks at Tewkesbury, the flooding spread down river to Gloucester.\n\n\n\nCity’s ground at Meadow Park had begun to flood the day before but the water kept rising.\n\nFew will forget the famous image of water lapping at the cross bar in the T-End.\n\n\n\nTo mark five years since that day, lifelong City fan and club photographer Neil Phelps describes how he managed to take the famous photo.\n\n ;\n
January 1990, December 2000 and July 2007 were three times I’ve been to Meadow Park despite there being no football to watch.\nOn each occasion the ground had been engulfed by floodwaters spilling over from the River Severn, the third time in 2007 was to be the last as the ground was deemed not worth the effort to restore in case it flooded for a fourth time.\n\n ;\n\nSecretly I wasn’t too unhappy when it flooded for a third time. I always thought that it would make a great photo and despite having taken some on both previous occasions I had better quality camera gear to do justice to this third coming.\n\n ;\n\nSo after finishing my post delivery on the Monday after the floods had done their worst I met up with Matt Clift and we headed to Hempstead. Matt was wearing his club tracksuit with Tim Harris’s initials on and I was in my uniform complete with mail pouch (containing my camera and lenses). I think had we not been in such attire we wouldn’t have got past the police blockade in Llanthony Road.\n\n ;\n\nA measure of the severity this flood was that the waters had reached along Sudmeadow Road. Previously they hadn’t topped the higher tier of the Fieldings car park so this time Gantry Railings had suffered and the houses had actually been breached too. A change of footwear was needed, Matt ruined some ruined trainers and I put on my (whisper it) crocs and rolled up my post office trousers.\n\n ;\n\nWe waded through the filthy knee high water and kept as far to the left as possible as we walked towards the main gates. with the way that the road into the football ground slopes even a few paces to the right would’ve seen us recreate the Dr Foster poem!\n\n ;\n\nIn 1990 when I was younger and fitter I climbed over the gates to get into Meadow Park but that wasn’t an option this time so after trying to get a signal and get in touch with John Davis to get the code to the gate we finally got in.\n\n ;\n\nWhat greeted us was a sad sight. In front of us was the club shop and a quick look through the window revealed the water level had destroyed all of the stock. I know people were down at the ground the night before moving things upstairs into the bar so why wasn’t the club shop stock protected? A lot of history was lost there.\n\n ;\n\nFurther along behind the stand where the land was raised was the only spot which wasn’t flooded and the groundsmans tractor had been parked there to save it.\n\n ;\n\nIn through the stand revealed the full extent of what had happened. Only the back two rows had seats above the water line and a glance to the left showed the goalposts in front of the T-End with the crossbar only just visible.\n\n ;\n\nOn the T-End itself, the first thing we saw was the gate to the phone mast which had been torn from its hinges and had floated the length of the pitch! The top step on the terrace had Matt knee deep in water. It was from here that I took my infamous photo of the T-End goal which was seen on both the News at Ten and in the Sun.\n\n ;\n\nWas that really five years ago?
\n ;\n\nA selection of Neil’s photos from that day can be seen here.
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