Connect with us

Opinions

The Rise of Forest Green Rovers: Uniquely modern and technologically advanced


Griffin O’Neill gives an account of Forest Green Rovers, recently promoted to the Football League and changing the way football is played, off the field


With the new football season just beginning, a whole new set of interesting and fascinating stories have come about. One of the most interesting of these stories is that of English club Forest Green Rovers. This Nailsworth-based club was recently promoted to League Two via the playoffs and appears to have all the tools for success in the fourth tier due to not only the quality of their play, but also the support given to them by the less than 6,000 citizens living in Nailsworth.

Who are Forest Green Rovers?

Founded in 1889 under the name “Nailsworth and Forest Green United,” Forest Green has never been considered a big club. Their crowning achievement came in 1982 when Forest won the FA Vase while being promoted from the Hellenic League to the Southern League Midland Division in the same year. Sadly, though, its good fortunes would not continue throughout the rest of the eighties. Multiple final day escapes from relegation later, and the board decided to rebrand the club as “Stroud FC.”  The fans instantly rejected this, and upon new chairman Trevor Horsley’s arrival in 1992, Forest Green Rovers returned and the ship was thusly righted.

Trevor Horsley is regarded as a club legend at Forest Green, and rightly so. He was the catalyst of the club’s promotion to the national league as well as their ability to stay there despite the odds. Under Horsley’s guidance, Rovers became the longest serving member of the National League, and thanks to Horsley’s forward thinking Forest were able to construct a new stadium in 2006. While this did move them out of the same stadium which they had used since 1889, the New Lawn was a statement of intent from Forest Green, and it paid off. This stadium helped attract energy tycoon Dale Vince to buy the club.

The club under Dale Vince

Under the influence of Vince, Forest have become a completely new club.  Vince saved the club from financial troubles, renovated the stadium, turned the club professional, put the club members on a completely vegan diet, implemented the use of a solar and wind powered mower to cut the grass on the field, and has begun to use Scottish Seaweed to fertilize the pitch. The club is undoubtedly on an upward, albeit different, trajectory from most clubs in the lower reaches of league football. Vince has also promised significant financial support for the club in its rise up the league pyramid. According to a report published by the Football League in April of 2017, Forest paid £174,613 more than the rest of the national league put together in agent fees. Manager Mark Cooper admits that the agent fees were “too much,” but because of the financial fair play regulations present in League Two, this level of spending would not be possible anyway.

The Quirks of Forest Green

With any football club in the world there are always going to be traditions and intriguing tidbits of information that make the club that much more popular than they already were. In terms of Forest Green, there are many small things about the club that make it more and more interesting.  

The most well reported of these things is the fact the players and staff are only provided vegan food items on training and match days. This diet was decided on both to promote the players and staff members’ well being, but also the well being of the environment, and the environment is the main reason for most of the quirks present at Forest Green. The club’s vegan style goes all the way to the food sold on matchday. Opposing fans are obviously not overjoyed at the prospect of only eating Q-Pies (a pie consisting of Quorn, soya béchamel, thyme, and leeks) during a match, with opposing fans known to chant “Meat! Meat! Meat!” during matches.

Forest Green has also been named the most green club in the world by FIFA, and this honor is well deserved. There are electric car charging ports outside of the ground, plans to build an entirely wooden stadium in the coming years, and interestingly, the pitch mower runs entirely off of solar and wind power. The ET Mow is one of the most interesting pieces of technology in football today. It is controlled by a satellite that plots its course on the pitch, and if it runs into an obstruction, it goes in a different direction and comes back later. This so called “mowbot” is yet another reason why Forest Green are helping pave the way for many clubs of the future.

All of these technological and environmentally conscious entities present at Forest Green are due in large part to previously mentioned club owner Dale Vince. Vince is the owner of Ecotricity, an electricity company. Vince has molded Ecotricity into one of the greenest energy companies in the world, and he has carried that over into his club ownership.

Forest Green’s Style of Play

One place where Forest’s progress has been especially visible is in their style of play. Before the arrival of former Swindon Town and Notts County manager Mark Cooper, Forest Green played the traditional, direct style of football that is a common stereotype of the lower tiers of English football, but upon Cooper’s arrival, the club’s style changed greatly. In an interview with the BBC earlier this year, Cooper said,”We try to play football the way we believe it should be played. Our fans know we’ve got a bit of an identity in how we play football.” Forest’s style of free flowing and attacking football paid off greatly in the National League last year, with Rovers scoring the most goals in the entire division.  

This kind of football is also one of the most efficient ways to climb the football pyramid and attain continued success for the future. The perfect example of this model is current Premier League club Bournemouth. The side have ascended through the leagues under the tutelage of Eddie Howe, and appear to have a good future ahead of them in the Premier League as well. Thanks to the managerial nous of Cooper and the financial backing of Vince, many parallels have developed between Bournemouth and Forest Green. Both Bournemouth and Forest Green play attractive football, and their specific styles have been fabricated from the mind of their young, English managers. Hopefully, Forest will be able to further the Bournemouth model even more and progress all the way to the Premier League under the guidance of Mark Cooper, and with talented players such as 24 year old top scorer Christian Doidge and also club captain Liam Noble in the squad, the club looks primed for success in the future.  

Griffin O'Neill

Griffin O'Neill

Griffin O'Neill is a high school student in Mississippi with a love for Werder Bremen, Manchester United, and football in general.He has soft spot for goalkeepers and is a firm believer that football is America's sport of the future.
Griffin O'Neill

100 to Watch

Latest

Indian Football1 hour ago

Three Things We Learned: Kerala Blasters 0-0 Jamshedpur

Aravind Unnikrishnan discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Kerala Blasters 0-0 Jamshedpur The goal-shy...

Indian Football2 days ago

Three Things We Learned: Chennaiyin 3-0 NorthEast United

Hrishi Anand discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Chennaiyin 3-0 NorthEast United Chennaiyin FC...

Indian Football2 days ago

Three Things We Learned: Pune City 2-3 Delhi Dynamos

Naven Venkat discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Pune City 2-3 Delhi Dynamos After...

Opinions3 days ago

Analysis: Guide To Formations With Three At The Back

Youssef Amin tactically lays out the merits and demerits of the two commonly used three-man defence formations.  Three at the...

Specials5 days ago

Mr. Huddersfield: Why Andy Booth is a Huddersfield Town Legend

Sivan John takes us down a trip down memory lane as he tells the story of Huddersfield Town legend, Andy...

Talent Radar5 days ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #11: Will Hughes and Donny van de Beek feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Bengaluru FC5 days ago

Three Things We Learned: Bengaluru FC 2-0 Mumbai City FC

Sami Faizullah discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Bengaluru FC 2-0 Mumbai City FC...

Indian Football5 days ago

Three Things We Learned: Chennaiyin FC 2-3 FC Goa

Hrishi Anand discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Chennaiyin FC 2-3 FC Goa Chennaiyin...

Indian Football6 days ago

Three Things We Learned: NorthEast United 0-0 Jamshedpur

Sauharda Karki discusses three talking points after the Indian Super League game finished NorthEast United 0-0 Jamshedpur The second game...

Talent Radar1 week ago

Veikkausliiga U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Season 2017: Talent Radar

As the Veikkausliiga season has finished, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot to recognize the accomplishments...

Indian Football1 week ago

Three Things We Learned: Kerala Blasters 0-0 ATK

Aravind Unnikrishnan discusses three talking points after the Indian Super League opener finished Kerala Blasters 0-0 ATK The inaugural match...

Indian Football1 week ago

Indian Super League 2017-18: Five Indian Players To Watch

Hrishi Anand looks at 5 Indian players to watch in the 2017-18 edition of the Indian Super League. The 4th...

Talent Radar1 week ago

Womens’ Young Player of the Year 2017: Vivianne Miedema

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look...

Talent Radar1 week ago

South American Young Player of the Year 2017: Gabriel Jesus

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look...

Talent Radar1 week ago

Oceanian Young Player of the Year 2017: Bill Tuiloma

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look...

Talent Radar1 week ago

North American Young Player of the Year 2017: Christian Pulisic

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look...

Talent Radar1 week ago

European Young Player of the Year 2017: Kylian Mbappé

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look...

Talent Radar1 week ago

Asian Young Player of the Year 2017: Hee Chan Hwang

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look...

Talent Radar1 week ago

African Young Player of the Year 2017: Naby Keita

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look...

Opinions1 week ago

The revival of Dzeko and Kolarov

Travis Knoppert compares the quality and the recent revival of Dzeko and Kolarov with their cheap transfer fees. After only...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 17-18

More on Outside of the Boot