This Saturday, the 25th of the month of October in the year 2014, sees arguably one of the ties of the weekend in the FA Cup Qualifying Round as cash-strapped Gloucester City take on money-bags Forest Green Rovers at Whaddon Road (did you know it’ll be LIVE on SevernSport as well?). Despite the Conference North strugglers going into the match as firm underdogs, the Tigers won’t be taken lightly by the team from Nailsworth, in the first competitive meeting between the two sides since 1998.
It’s not just £12,500 and a place in the 1st round proper up for grabs on Saturday though, there is something that means a lot more to both sides: pride. No team wants to lose to one of it’s biggest rivals and you can rest assured that both teams will be putting everything on the line when the two meet at 3pm on Saturday. But not just for themselves, for the fans. I spoke to fans of both teams and they explained to me what it would mean to their respective sets of supporters, should they win on Saturday.
Gloucester City Chairman and lifelong fan Mike Dunstan said:
It would mean a lot of profile for the club, hopefully a lot of new fans seeing what we are all about (and what they are missing). Also it will obviously bring some very welcome financial support and the chance of another big game to come. It would also mean a smile on the chairmanship face that would last for days!
A Forest Green fan by the username “Timb” said on their official fans’ forum:
It’s an FA Cup game and in my opinion it’s equally as important as the Bristol Rovers game. We need football league status for financial viability, but a good cup run can help this and also more importantly raising the profile of FGR. They are our biggest historical local rivals so I’m looking forward to it.
Another Rovers fan, Andy Whiting, said:
I remember the old days very well when City were the big club and our players would go there for extra bucks etc but now the roles are reversed thankfully and we are the biggest club in Gloucestershire to me. Saturday’s match is what clubs like us dream about.
Tigers fan Henry David gave his thoughts:
I think a win would mean loads to City fans as we would beat a local rival and get into the 1st round for the 3rd successive year, whereas Forest Green are excepted to win.They’ll still be happy to beat City and no matter what the score is, it will hopefully be in front of a big crowd!
However, fellow Gloucester City fan Neil Phelps referenced the rivalry, or lack thereof, between the two teams, whilst also looking ahead past the Fourth Qualifying Round:
A win on Saturday would mean more to do with the prize of winning a place in the competition proper than beating a Conference Premier team bankrolled by a man with more money than he can spend. We have no rivalry with FGR so it’s just another game. Cheltenham in the 1st round proper would be a whole different ball game!
Forest Green Rovers unofficial Twitter fanzine @GreenArmyFGR spoke on behalf of all FGR fans:
A win would mean everything to myself and all FGR fans. We’ve done poorly in all cup competitions in recent seasons and it would be great to go on another cup run and hopefully cause a few upsets on the way! I think the phrase “makes us dream” sums it up perfectly!
As you can see, a win on Saturday is huge for both clubs, not just because of the financial benefits it will bring, but also for the local bragging rights that come with it. No competitive meetings since 1998 between the two sides means that both sides will have an appetite to get one over on their local rivals. You can bet your life that it’ll be a meaty affair.
Kelsey De Maria
You can listen to LIVE coverage of Gloucester City vs Forest Green Rovers from 2:30pm on Saturday 25th October on SevernSport and SevernFM.