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#WestIsBest – The story of Severn Sport

What started as a couple of friends doing radio commentary on a Saturday afternoon has rapidly grown into one of the largest sports news outlets in Gloucestershire.

Our aim is to indeed prove that #WestIsBest and that there is more to the Gloucestershire sport scene than just the well known teams, clubs and causes. Our team of reporters are dedicated to bringing comprehensive coverage to the county on all sports including (but not limited to) football, rugby league and cricket.

Since our formation in 2013, we have formed links and lasting relationships with businesses, charities and clubs who see the potential and believe in what we do. In 2018 we hosted a weeklong pre-season tournament with four clubs from the local area and the Severn Sport Shield was born. We did the same in 2019 and plan to do the same in 2020.

It has been a learning curve for all of us and we’ve all grown as people during our journey; but we’re only just getting started.

You can follow us and what we do on Twitter or on Facebook.

Got an idea for a story you’d like us to cover? You can get in contact with us here.

Meet the team

Ryan Butler

First footballing memory – My first ever game stands out for me. It was Reading 4-0 Sunderland at Elm Park in 1997. I would have been 5 years old and I remember walking into the ground with my Uncle and my older brother. The memories I have of the game itself are Carl Asaba scoring an unreal goal and sitting down in the terraces at half time to have a Ribena that my Uncle had smuggled in!

Favourite ground visited – It has to be Camp Nou. Whilst on holiday in Spain my brothers and I went to see Barcelona beat Malaga 2-1 with my dad – who isn’t a football fan at all! Non-league wise I like Falmouth Town’s set up and the main stand gives you a great vantage point for commentary duties.

How did you get involved with Severn Sport? Whilst I was up in Cheltenham studying Radio Production at University we had an email from our lecturer asking if anyone fancied commentating for Gloucester City’s Tigers Radio. Naturally I was interested so got in touch with then Supporters Trust Chairman Matt Phillips. He invited me along to a game and that’s where I met Matt Yates and our friendship blossomed from there.

One 7-2 FA Cup win for Gloucester City later for a first game abd I was hooked. We soon formed Severn Sport and Kelsey joined us and the rest is history.

Favourite game covered – Torn between two. Gloucester City’s 1-1 draw at Stockport in 2016 was one of my favourite experiences as Kelsey and I found ourselves celebrating the draw like a win in a stand surrounded by a couple of thousand Stockport fans!

The other game is Sevenoaks Town 2-1 Longlevens because it was the first time Longlevens had made the first round of the FA Vase and at the time it was their longest ever trip for a match. To know I was commentating and the whole club were listening back home was special.

Favourite local player(s) – Brad Martin at Longlevens will be one I’m most known for but it is because I’m a fan of the big man up top set up. Elsewhere I really like watching Jake Rhodes at Tuffley Rovers and Tommy Anderson at Cirencester Town and Jordan Alderman at Brockworth Albion amongst others.

What is your dream for local football? With the amount of Southern League and Hellenic League matches we cover i would love to be there to see one of our sides win either the league or one of the cups they enter. That would be incredible

Kelsey De Maria

First footballing memory – It’ll be something involving Gloucester City as my dad used to take me down there even as a baby; The one that sticks out was when Gloucester lost 7-1 at home to Bedworth United in 2001 and I’m pretty sure we left early as well. Then I remember a week later they played Rocester and there was a long delay as one of the away team’s players suffered a broken leg – which I’m sure was a result of a Lee Smith tackle!

Favourite ground visited – I don’t know if I could put just one down and I’ve not been to that many ‘big’ grounds. In non-league, Stockport County’s Edgeley Park was an ace ground for the level and the hospitality there was brilliant, plus we saw a brilliant game there when Gloucester drew 1-1 on the last day of the season in 2016/17 in front of 6,000 people.

How did you get involved with Severn Sport? I started off filming the match day highlights for Gloucester at Whaddon Road when Matt and Ryan were commentating, one day I asked Matt if I could come on as a guest on the Radio Winchcombe show as Butler was back in Reading at the time and I couldn’t just leave Matt on his own with Penno.

Favourite game covered – I’d probably go with a few games here. Gloucester’s 3-2 win over Salford in 2016/17 shades it as my favourite due to so many factors. The atmosphere was unreal, the quality of football was brilliant, there were so many twists and turns and from a professional perspective our broadcast and the commentary was one of the best of the season. After that I’d be looking at Longlevens 6-1 Shrivenham (2020/21), Cinderford 3-1 Cirencester (2019/20) and Slimbridge 2-2 Taunton (2016/17).

Favourite local player(s) – I’m a big fan of defenders having played that position a lot previously. Jack Bartman and Kyle Pitts at Brimscombe & Thrupp are up there as two of my favourite players to watch; then if you look elsewhere Rudi McKinnon is such an exciting young player for Tuffley Rovers and Harry Emmett is just unreal at Longlevens.

What is your dream for local football? The reason we do what we do is to give our clubs more exposure and, hopefully, increase interest in people wanting to attend games. My ultimate dream would be Gloucestershire becoming a place where everybody goes to watch a game of football in the county on a Saturday afternoon. Men aren’t dragged round the shops by their wives, or forced to stay at home to do DIY, they’re at Saw Mills or Glevum Park supporting Gloucestershire football! Realistically that won’t happen so I’ll settle for just a heightened interest I guess.

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