The team plays out of its home stadium in Kingsholm.
The club has no official nickname but are sometimes referred to as the 'cherry and whites' by supporters and the media in reference to the traditional striped shirts worn by the team.
There were 11 games played during the club's 1876-77 season, the club winning 6, losing 2 and drawing 3. Gloucester Rugby had a successful run in the coming seasons, playing 15 games in both the 1877-78 and 1878-79 seasons, winning 10, losing 2 and drawing 3 both times. In the 1879-80 season Gloucester Rugby played 17 games and lost just two. The following season was less successful, winning six of their 13 fixtures. In the 1882-83 season the team won 11 of their 14 games. The club was playing more fixtures as the decade continued, contesting 20 games in the 1884-85 season, and up to 34 in the 1891-92 season. The club left the Spa for Kingsholm when it bought an area of the Castle Grim Estate for £4,000 in 1891.
Gloucester Rugby were suspended by the RFU for professionalism as a result of the club recruiting players: the "Shewell case". The club responded by adopting a more puritanical adherence to the amateur regulations, and were reinstated. However when the Northern clubs split from the RFU to form the Northern Rugby Union (later known as the Rugby Football League) a number of Gloucester Rugby players "went North".
The 1920-21 season became famous for Gloucester Rugby when Fredd Webb skippered the club to 23 matches unbeaten at home at Kingsholm, with only the United Services and Pontypool clubs being able to defeat them at home. Gloucester Rugby defeated Newport 12 to 9 in front of 8,000 spectators. The following season was infamous for the number of footballers that were sent from the field by officials, 14 for fighting, seven for arguing, six for language and one for foul play. Leicester actually cancelled their Gloucester Rugby fixture because of this. Around the mid 1920s the media began to refer to the club as the 'Red and Whites'.
Despite the two cup wins of the 1970s and a shared trophy in 1982, Gloucester Rugby were soon to find themselves in the shadow of Bath, the rising force from down the A46.
Bath finished runners-up in the league in 1989, but the disastrous end to the 1989/90 campaign was to be a prelude to lean years. Closing in on English rugby's first 'Double', Gloucester Rugby's last-day collapse handed Wasps the league title before a 48-6 cup final thrashing by Bath.
By 1992/93 however it was a different story. The players called a crisis meeting with club coach Keith Richardson about the perceived lack of player rewards relative to other comparable clubs. A year later, club chairman Peter Ford restated the club's traditional anti-professionalism: "We play by the rules. .. whatever anybody else does, we'll stick by the rules. If they say we can't pay players, or offer them inducements or cars or flats. .. then we won't do it."
The arrival of Richard Hill as coach would signal a change in direction.
In Saint-Andre's first full season, a third-place finish in 1999/2000 took the Cherry & Whites into the Heineken Cup. With Phil Vickery, Trevor Woodman and All Blacks legend Ian Jones forming the basis of a formidable pack, Gloucester Rugby marched their way to the last four, where only last-ditch Leicester defending would deny them a final appearance.
Saint-Andre's acrimonious departure couldn't stop them winning their first cup triumph in 25 years in 2003, under new coach Nigel Melville.
Unstoppable in the league, Gloucester Rugby reached the inaugural Championship final 15 points clear of their nearest rival, however under the new league system Gloucester Rugby were 'rewarded' with a 3 week lay-off, while Wasps played regular rugby during the 3 weeks as a result Gloucester Rugby lost their momentum and were crushed emphatically by Wasps at Twickenham.
During the next few seasons Gloucester Rugby failed to build on the success of the 2002-03 season. Things became worse in the 2004-05 season when they failed to qualify for the Heineken Cup. Nigel Melville left the club and was replaced by Dean Ryan for the 2005-06 season.
The 2005-06 season was an improvement in the clubs fortunes, although they did not qualify for the play-offs, they were strong contenders and lost out on the last day of the regular season. They also won silverware in the European Challenge Cup, defeating London Irish in a tense final that went into extra time. This season was also a glimpse of the incredible talent Gloucester Rugby were bringing up from their academy.
Gloucester Rugby finished 1st in the 2006/2007 Guinness Premiership table, both Leicester and Gloucester Rugby tied with 71 points, Gloucester Rugby gaining first place with more games won, they also demonstrated their level of skill and vision in the Heineken Cup, against sides such as Leinster and Edinburgh despite not progressing past the group stage, Gloucester Rugby defeated the Saracens in the semi-final at Kingsholm, 50-9, to move into the Twickenham final where they faced Leicester Tigers. However, Gloucester Rugby were beaten heavily by the Tigers with the final score being 44-16, Gloucester Rugby again being defeated by the play-off system.
Gloucester Rugby began the 2007/08 Guinness premiership campaign as favorites, and started the season strongly winning their first five games before defeat away to London Irish. Dean Ryan's main focus for the 2007/08 season was for Gloucester to establish themselves in Europe, but despite coming top of their group they lost to Munster in the Quarter Final. After the Heineken Cup exit Gloucester overcame their poor mid-season form with a series of victories capping it off with their first away win against Wasps for 18 years, and then defeating Bath in an intense encounter at Kingsholm to win the league for the sencond year running, and book a home semi-final in the Championship Play-off against Leicester Tigers in a repeat of last seasons Championship final.
The result was the same, although a closer affair. The Tigers won 25-26 courtesy of an Andy Goode drop goal 3 minutes from time but Gloucester had seemed in control. They led 12-3 at half-time and 22-13 at one point in the second half. However, a sliced box kick from Gloucester fly-half Ryan Lamb (on his birthday), followed by a catastrophic error by Ian Balshaw who passed metres behind Willie Walker, allowed Leicester's former All-Black Mauger to score under the posts and close the gap to 22-20. An Andy Goode penalty gave them the lead and a drop goal for each team in the last ten minutes (in which Lamb also missed a penalty) meant that the Leicester Tigers became the first team in premiership history to win a semi-final away from home, and once again left Gloucester's fans heart-broken.
|1997-1998 - Allied Dunbar Premiership||6th||23|
|1998-1999 - Allied Dunbar Premiership||10th||19|
|1999-2000 - Allied Dunbar Premiership||3rd||30|
|2000-2001 - Zurich Premiership||7th||48|
|2001-2002 - Zurich Premiership||3rd||67|
|2002-2003 - Zurich Premiership||1st||82|
|2003-2004 - Zurich Premiership||4th||63|
|2004-2005 - Zurich Premiership||6th||47|
|2005-2006 - Guinness Premiership||5th||59|
|2006-2007 - Guinness Premiership||1st||71|
|2007-2008 - Guinness Premiership||1st||74|
The club left the Spa for Kingsholm when it bought an area of the Castle Grim Estate for £4,000 in 1891.
A main grandstand was erected in 1926 at a cost of £2,500, containing 1,750 seats. However six years later it would be destroyed by fire. There were plans proposed to increase the capacity of the stadium to 20,000, with seating for 7,000. It remained just that , a proposal, although the grandstand was replaced.
Gloucester Rugby opened the "sixpenny" stand later known as the Shed in 1891. Kingsholm's capacity was further increased to 20,000 in the 1930s when a grandstand was added to the stadium.
Like the clubs of the Welsh mining valleys, Gloucester Rugby traditionally drew its support and its playing strength from local working-class communities. The Shed, so-called because it looks like a cow shed, dates back to the 1950s. Gloucester Rugby's fanzine refers to it as 'the cauldron of fear'. The Shed is standing-only terracing that runs continuously down one touchline, opposite the point where visiting teams emerge from the dressing rooms. Its low tin roof amplifies the effect of a passionate support which has been mentioned by commentators sitting above it during live broadcasts.
In 2006, the club announced it would be making an extension to Kingsholm, bringing the stadium capacity up to 17,000, to cope with higher levels of spectators. It was also to comply with Premier Rugby's minimum seat number requirements. The old main stand was later replaced by a new all seater structure.
In January 2007, the club announced that it plans to redevelop The Shed. This is to enable the stadium to become all-seating. A large amount of supporters do not want to see this happen, and a campaign under the banner of "Save Our Shed" or "SOS" was begun. Posters were held up during a protest before one game and t-shirts were made with the slogan Save Our Shed on them.
A suggested compromise is for the club to replicate the design of Northampton RFC’s ground, Franklin's Gardens, where terracing runs in conjunction with a large seated area. In September 2008, chairman Tom Wilkinshaw confirmed that the plans for the Shed would see it remain as a terrace (with an increased capacity of 6000), with hospitality units above it.
2007 also saw the club reject the proposal of a new 20,000 all seater stadium in an area of the city nicknamed "The Railway Triangle". This was to be shared with the local football side. Kingsholm was also suggested in October 2007 as a possible temporary home for Gloucester City A.F.C. after their stadium Meadow Park was flooded and then abandoned following the summer floods, however this move was rejected by owner Tom Walkinshaw.
The famous cherry and white hooped jersey did not originally belong to the club. Painswick RFC, based in Gloucestershire and the oldest village club, are the original 'Cherry and Whites' (although they didn't use the nickname). According to local legend at the clubs first meeting it was decided that the clubs uniform was to be entirely navy blue, however in the run up to their first game the new club were unable to obtain 15 navy shirts, Painswick RFC stepped in and loaned them 15 of their cherry and white jerseys, but the Gloucester club never returned them and instead adopted the colours as their own. However in 2003 to celebrate Gloucester Rugby's 130th anniversary, Gloucester Rugby returned the favour and gave Painswick RFC 15 Gloucester Rugby jerseys.
The club's new jerseys no longer feature the cherry-and-white hoops, instead featuring a largely red shirt with white sleeves and blue-and-white strips down the sides, nor does the new kit include the traditional navy blue shorts and socks, with the new kit becoming all red. On the release of this new jersey there was a large amount of disappointment in Gloucester Rugby's decision to move away from the hooped design, a design generally associated with traditional rugby shirts, as this was a dramatic move away from the classic Gloucester Rugby design. However the majority of fans have now accepted the new design. After the new Gloucester Rugby shirt was released Cotton Traders, who supplied Gloucester Rugby Jerseys prior to the 2007-08 season, released a classic plain cherry and white hooped Gloucester Rugby jersey, albeit an unofficial jersey which is not associated with the club, in addition many of the Public Houses in the Kingsholm area also begain selling shirts with the classic hoops, although these shirts do not display the name 'Gloucester Rugby', due to copyright, and instead use the title 'Cherry and Whites' under the Gloucester city coat of arms, as such many of the fans who disapproved of the new original design were able to purchase this classic design instead. Many fans have commented on the irony that whilst the new crest and shirt design were originally designed in order to prevent unofficial merchandise, they have in fact increased the number of fans turning to unofficial shirts. In response to this, Gloucester Rugby released its own, official, shirt displaying the classic hooped design with the new club crest above the date of the clubs inception '1873'.
However, in a sudden u-turn, in 2005 the club declared that it wished to disassociate itself from the cherry and white nickname. Suggesting, amongst other reasons, that the club wished a more intimidating nickname be used, rumours suggested that the club was in favour of re-branding as the 'Gloucester Lions', although this was never confirmed. In response to the rumours the Kingsholm Supporters Mutual (KSM), a supporters group set up by the club in 2003, stated they were 'concerned' with the suggested changes declaring that the name 'cherry and whites' was synonymous with the club. Other fan suggested nicknames such as the "meteors' or 'javelins' in reference to the city's aviation links were met with similar negative responses. 'Old Spots' was also discussed at some length.
The issue of the clubs nickname has created split opinions amongst it supporters. There are some who would like to see the 'cherry and whites' nickname made official and who see the club suggesting that a colour isn't intimidating as ludicrous, pointing out that probably the most intimidating team in the world are the New Zealand All Blacks, who don't seem to find having a colour nickname crippling. Many fans don't see the need of having an official nickname and are happy to simply use 'Gloucester Rugby', but regardless of the clubs official nickname the majority of fans in general have, at the very least, a fond affection for the 'cherry and whites'.
The media continues to refer to Gloucester Rugby as the 'cherry and whites' and the club itself has said no more over a possible name change, while the 'cherry and whites' nickname is likely to never become official the club will probably be forever referred to as the 'cherry and whites'.