Stroud Times visited Gloucester City’s Meadow Park Stadium to meet the team behind the newly launched Gloucester Sport.
Gloucester City co-owners Alex Petheram and Eamonn McGurk have unveiled Gloucester Sport as their new venture, alongside the appointments of CEO Jay Marriott and commercial manager Lee Mills.
Following the recent move into basketball and news that Petheram is in advanced talks with the British Basketball League and Women’s British Basketball League, along with the formation of Gloucester City AFC Women and the addition of Under-21s and Under-23s, the ambitious duo say they now wish to forge a winning mentality both on and off the field.
“Gloucester Sport has been created to be the team behind the team,” Petheram said.
“It will provide its sporting family with support through commercial growth, educational and key strategic partnerships, elite sporting structures and pathways, community engagement, and finally expansion into other professional sports markets.”
He added: “We are immensely proud of our achievements so far and we can’t wait to welcome our fans to New Meadow Park.
“We have great confidence in Paul Groves (men’s senior manager) and the team, who we believe will make our city proud.
“This is another step on our ambitious journey that we feel will support our success. Our plans for expansion outlines our desire to create a legacy of successful professional sports across the city.
“I’m very aware that people will draw links to Bristol Sport and so they should, that model is fantastic and works very well.
Newly-appointed CEO of Gloucester Sport Marriott is a former professional basketball player who was previously head coach of Plymouth Raiders.
Marriott said: “I’m proud to be joining Alex and Eamonn on this project as we look to build on the football club’s success, while also expanding our offer into other areas of professional sport.
“It’s important to recognise the hard work already undertaken by Alex and Eamonn and while we announce Gloucester Sport in the summer of 2021, the concept has guided every move over the past three years.
“I’m honoured to play my part in building this sporting brand.”
On the appointment, Petheram added: “I’m delighted to announce a very good friend of mine to the team and city.
“Jay has a fantastic sporting CV, playing basketball internationally with team GB, along with playing in America, Spain and here in Britain.
“I met him a long time ago back in Plymouth, he then became the Plymouth Raiders head coach and went on to coach in America in Salt Lake and the Middle East to name just part of his CV.
“When we started this vision, Jay was the only person I wanted to bring in, we’ve worked together before and both been involved within the Plymouth Raiders.
“He’s got family in Gloucestershire and wanted to move back to the area, so for me he was our sole and number one option.
“He’ll have overall responsibility for operations reporting into myself, adding much needed off field strategic support into all areas, some of which you’ll have already seen start to develop last week.”
Commercial manager Mills has been involved in the football club for many years.
“Lee will report into Jay and will be responsible for bringing in and working with our much needed and valued sponsors and commercial partners,” Petheram said.
“We had over 20 applications for the role and Lee was the stand out candidate.
“He knows the club well, he knows the local area and many of the local businesses, so I’m hoping this is a perfect fit for us both.”
McGurk added: “This is the most excited I’ve been since I’ve been involved at Gloucester City AFC, not only about the future of the football club, but sport in the area as a whole.
“Thank you to everyone that continues to support us.”