Revealing the business that will help drive Gloucester’s bid for a new era of professional sport

A new business has been launched to drive the commercial development of Gloucester City FC and its associated basketball teams, as both begin to reach for the stars.

A new sports business from the owners of Gloucester City FC aims to spearhead the rise of the club and its owners’ ambitions to develop professional basketball in the city.

The football club’s long road back to the city after 12 years in exile is well documented, but now the two businessmen behind the club, Eamonn McGurk and Alex Petheram, have unveiled their new venture, Gloucester Sport, along with its chief executive officer, Jay Marriott, and commercial manager, Lee Mills.

Today (Thurday, June 10) the club made a further announcements, unveiling more of the detail in its plans for a professional era for Gloucester City Kings and Gloucester City Queens basketball teams.

Mr McGurk, who also runs the nationwide plant rental and excavation business, Keyway and is credited with supporting the club financially through its years in exile, said: ‘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.’

Mr Petheram, managing director of building firm Soldi Construction, said: ‘Our plans for expansion outline our desire to create a legacy of successful professional sports across the city.’

Comparisons, he said, had already been made with Bristol Sport, the business run by billionaire businessman Stephen Lansdown, owner of Bristol City Football Club and basketball team Bristol Flyers.

‘We’re clearly not starting with an EFL Championship football team, but our basketball model will very much be on par with Bristol in terms of the men’s game, and in the women’s game, well, that one is exciting,’ said Mr Petheram.

Mr Marriott, a former professional basketball player and head coach of Plymouth Raiders, said: ‘I am proud to be joining Alex and Eamonn on this project as we look to build on the football club’s success, whilst also expanding our offer into other areas of professional sport.’

Mr Marriott is expected to spearhead in particular the development of the basketball side of the business, which the team believes has huge potential.

Mr Mills, who Gloucester Sport described as the ‘stand-out candidate’ for the role as commercial manager, said the club was already making in-roads into securing commercial deals.

‘We are a club on the up. We have a great vision and great plans to involve businesses,’ said Mr Mills.

‘We don’t plan to compete with Gloucester Rugby, but there will be plenty of opportunities, from sponsorship of the teams to hospitality. We want it to be a relaxed place for people to come and enjoy themselves.’

This week the club announced its women’s football team was now part of the Gloucestershire County Womens Football League Division One, with the new season due to start on Sunday 5 September.

By Andrew Merrell

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© SoGlos
Wednesday 09 June 2021

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