On the 16th of December 1989, Gloucester played Coventry in a club match at Kingsholm. Gloucester won the game comfortably as I recall. Yet, it was not a game to readily stir the memories apart from the fact that it was the first time I saw Glaws play. It was something which, however, stayed with me and has continued to do so to this very day. To visit Kingsholm is a unique experience, and there is no other place like it in the world of Rugby Union. I have many fond memories of the old clubhouse too, no more so than my first visit when I gained entry with a friend of mine who was a member and was the one who introduced me to the delights of Glaws that very day. He lives to this day in Churchdown. That first visit amazed an impressionable 28 year old with its history on the clubhouse walls.
I have returned to Kingsholm many times since, with many great memories, over the past 20 years. I have seen a lot of changes too with the adoption of the professional era and the changing face of the stadium too. The Shed, thankfully is still there. We have lost the old Worcester Street terrace in favour of a new stand and the old grandstand has gone too. The old Tump End went too, many years ago.
Being almost 200 miles away from Kingsholm, I do not get to watch Glaws as often as I would like. However, my family and I (who I have introduced to the delights of Kingsholm) have enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, weekends in Gloucester when the mighty Cherry & Whites are at home. I even had my stag weekend in Gloucester to take in a game!!!
I often get asked ‘why support Gloucester when you live so far away?’ or ‘you have no real affiliation, or you are not from there.’ The answer is simple. There is just no other place where I could possibly watch rugby. I love the people, the city, the cathedral, the pubs, and of course the club itself. The history, atmosphere and the passion is second to none. The knowledge of the fans is unmatchable, and then there is The Shed!!!
In two weeks time, on the 20th of December 2009, me and my family will be coming down to Gloucester for a few days to take in the Glaws v Glasgow Heineken Cup game, and for some Christmas shopping – and some drinking too!!! A kind of 20th anniversary celebration of the first time I visited Kingsholm.
The place has a special place in my life, and in my heart.