Forest Green Rovers F.C.

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Forest Green Rovers F.C.
Forest Green Rovers FC logo
Full name Forest Green Rovers Football Club
Nickname(s) Rovers
The Green
The Little Club On The Hill
Green Army
Founded 1889; 127 years ago (1889) (as 'Forest Green')
Ground The New Lawn
Ground Capacity 5,032 (2,000 seated)
Chairman Dale Vince
Manager Mark Cooper
League National League
2015–16 National League, 2nd

Forest Green Rovers Football Club is a professional association football club based in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, England. They are longest-serving members of the National League. The club is affiliated to the Gloucestershire County FA and has EMAS status. During the 1989–90 to 1991–92 seasons, the club used the name Stroud FC,[1] not to be confused with the former Gloucestershire Northern Senior League club.[2]


Early years[edit]

The club was founded in 1889 as Forest Green by the local Nonconformist church minister. The club would go on to become founder members of the Mid Gloucestershire League in 1894. The club moved to the newly formed Stroud & District League in 1902 where they remained for 32 years, also playing in the Dursley & District League. Rovers won the Dursley & District League in 1903 and this was the club's first ever silverware. They were founder members of the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League in 1922 alongside Cheltenham Town, winning the league in 1938, 1950 and 1951.

In 1926 Rovers home ground, the Lawn Ground, was officially enclosed and a decade later the committee members at the club bought the field for £120 at an auction.

Post Second World War period[edit]

In 1968 they were founder members of the Gloucestershire County League where they remained for seven seasons with an average finishing position of 6th. Former Arsenal number six, Peter Goring became the club manager and in his eleven-year spell the club earned promotion to the Hellenic League in 1975.

The Vase win and Stroud FC[edit]

The 1981–82 season saw the club win the Hellenic League championship and the FA Vase under manager Bob Mersell at Wembley, beating Rainworth Miners Welfare 3–0 in the final. The same season the club moved upwards into the Southern League where they finished third in their maiden season in the Midland Division.

In subsequent seasons the club failed to make an impact, and in 1989 the club changed its name to Stroud F.C. in an attempt to revitalise the football club. This move failed to improve the club's fortunes and the club struggled both on the pitch and with the club's finances.

Back to Forest Green[edit]

The name was changed back to Forest Green Rovers for the 1992–93 season thanks to the introduction of new chairman and investor Trevor Horsley. The arrival of Horsley changed the fortunes of the club, and performances on the pitch improved significantly as did the development of The Lawn.

Promotion to the Conference[edit]

The club appointed Frank Gregan as their new manager in 1994 and the club enjoyed two successive promotions in 1997 and 1998 through the Southern League into the Football Conference. In the club's first season in the Conference they finished 12th. A run to the final of the FA Trophy saw them lose 1–0 at Wembley Stadium to Kingstonian. The appearance in the Trophy final made Forest Green the first club in history to have appeared in both the FA Vase final and FA Trophy final. They went on to appear in the FA Cup First Round for the first time, defeating Guiseley 6–0 to set up a home tie with Torquay United, which they lost 3–0.

Conference years[edit]

Frank Gregan left the club and former England international Nigel Spink was appointed manager and he led Rovers to another appearance in the FA Trophy final in 2001. However another 1–0 defeat, this time to Canvey Island at Villa Park meant Forest Green finished as runners up for a second time.

Rovers recorded their then best ever league finish of – 9th – in 2003 under Colin Addison, as well as an appearance on Match of the Day in the first round of the FA Cup where they drew 0–0 at The Lawn with Football League side Exeter City.

In 2002 the club put forward a planning application for a new ground 400 yards up the road from The Lawn that would come under Football League standards. Permission was granted for the ground to be built in 2005 and the club moved into The New Lawn in 2006. The first match at the new ground was a pre-season friendly against Swindon Town.

Then manager, Gary Owers, was then sacked by the club and he was replaced by Jim Harvey. Harvey led Forest Green to 14th in his first season with the club. He then led Rovers to a then highest league finish of 8th in the 2007–08 season. The club also reached the FA Cup 2nd round, where they lost 3–2 against League One outfit Swindon Town. In 2008–09 they reached the FA Cup 3rd round for the first time but lost 3–4 to Derby County on 3 January 2009 after leading 2–0. This game also saw Forest Green record their highest ever attendance with 4836 watching the match.

In March 2009, still under Harvey, Forest Green reached the Conference League Cup final having defeated Ebbsfleet United 1–0 at Stonebridge Road to set up a final clash at the New Lawn with AFC Telford United. However, despite having most of the chances, Rovers lost the game 0–3 on penalties after a goalless finish at full-time, in front of over 2,300 supporters and a Setanta Sports television audience.

Jim Harvey left the club at the start of the 2009–10 season and was replaced by Dave Hockaday. Forest Green reached the FA Cup 3rd round again the following season and were drawn away to Notts County in the third round. The tie was postponed due to freezing conditions meaning Forest Green would be in the fourth round draw for the first time in their history. The fourth round draw saw Forest Green draw Premier League side Wigan Athletic, although Forest Green then lost 2 -1 to Notts County on 19 January 2010 at Meadow Lane.

Rovers' 12-year stay in the Conference Premier appeared to end on 24 April 2010 when they lost 2–1 to Grays Athletic but on 10 June they were reprieved after Salisbury City were removed from the division for breaking financial rules. During the season Forest Green chairman, Trevor Horsley, revealed the club was in serious debt and he described the clubs position as a "crisis".

Green energy tycoon and Ecotricity owner Dale Vince launched a takeover of the club in August 2010 and Vince became the club's majority shareholder and then chairman a few months later. Forest Green made national headlines in February 2011 when Vince introduced a ban on all red meat being sold at the club, on health and ethical grounds.[3]

At the end of Vince's first season in charge of the club, Rovers secured another season of Conference football for the 2011–12 season, despite losing to Tamworth on the final day with the club staying up on goal difference. The following 2011–12 season saw large scale improvements on the pitch and Forest Green finished 10th securing a fifteenth consecutive season of Conference football. In May 2012 long term club secretary Colin Peake left the club and was followed the following month by co-vice chairman Trevor Horsley after he had been involved at the club for over 20 years.[4]

The 2012–13 campaign saw the club again record a 10th-place finish. Three months into the 2013–14 season saw Dave Hockaday's time at the club come to an end as he departed by mutual consent. Hockaday's former assistant, Gary Seward, was placed in temporary charge of the side but left after just one game and was replaced by the club's Head of Youth, Scott Bartlett, as caretaker. On 12 November 2013 it was announced that Adrian Pennock had been appointed as the new first team manager, assisted in the role by Dave Kevan. Scott Bartlett returned to his role as Head of Youth at the club. For a third consecutive year the club ended their 2013–14 season in 10th position ensuring they would compete in the Conference National for a seventeenth consecutive season.

On 1 November 2014, the club held what is believed to be the world's first vegan football match against Lincoln City.[5] The event received support from Paul McCartney and Stella McCartney.[6]

At the end of the 2014–15 season, the club qualified for the Conference National play-offs for the first time by finishing in a then record highest 5th league position. However a 3–0 aggregate semi-final defeat against Bristol Rovers denied the club a chance of making it to the play-off final.[7] A win against Southport at the start of the 2015–16 season saw the club become the first in the history of the National League to win their opening nine games.[8]

On 30 October 2015, Forest Green Rovers officially launched as an all vegan club.[9][10][11] In November 2015, a stoppage time goal from Elliott Frear was enough to knock Football League outfit AFC Wimbledon out of the FA Cup in the first round.

The club ended the 2015-16 season second in the National League in 2nd place that was yet again another club record highest finish. However a poor run of results towards the end of the season, which saw the club lose out on the league title to Cheltenham Town, saw Adrian Pennock relieved of his duties and Head of Youth Scott Bartlett once again installed as caretaker manager.

Bartlett guided Forest Green into the National League promotion final after a semi-final 2-1 aggregate win over Dover Athletic. On 15 May 2016, a 3-1 loss to Grimsby Town at Wembley Stadium in the play-off final denied the club a place in the Football League in a game watched by over 17,000 spectators.[12] Former player Mark Cooper was installed as the new manager on a permanent basis in the same month.


This is the eleven latest Forest Green Rovers seasons, for a full history see List of Forest Green Rovers F.C. seasons

Year League Level Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Position Overall
Leading league scorer[13] FA Cup FA Trophy Average home
Name Goals Res Rec Res Rec
2004–05 Conference
5 42 6 15 21 41 81 −40 33 20th of 22 112th Charlie Griffin 17 R1 1–1–1 R3 0–0–1 743
2005–06 Conference
5 42 8 14 20 49 62 −13 38 19th of 22 111th Paul Wanless 10 QR4 0–0–1 R3 2–0–1 977
2006–07 Conference
5 46 13 18 15 59 64 −5 57 14th of 24 106th Simon Clist
Danny Carey-Bertram
7 QR4 0–0–1 R1 0–0–1 1185
2007–08 Conference
5 46 19 14 13 76 59 +17 71 8th of 24 100th Stuart Fleetwood 27 R2 2–2–1 R2 1–0–1 1178
2008–09 Conference
5 46 12 16 18 70 76 −6 52 18th of 24 110th Andrew Mangan 26 R3 3–1–1 QF 3–0–1 955
2009–10 Conference
5 44 12 9 23 50 76 −26 45 21st of 23 113th Jonathan Smith 8 R3 3–1–1 R1 0–0–1 1012
2010–11 Conference
5 46 10 16 20 53 72 −19 46 20th of 24 112th Reece Styche 15 R1 1–0–1 R1 0–0–1 949
2011–12 Conference
5 46 19 13 14 66 45 +21 70 10th of 24 102nd Yan Klukowski 18 QR4 0–0–1 R1 0–1–1 1034
2012–13 Conference
5 46 18 11 17 63 49 +14 65 10th of 24 102nd James Norwood 15 R1 1–1–1 R2 1–0–1 1202
2013–14 Conference
5 46 19 10 17 80 66 +14 67 10th of 24 102nd James Norwood 18 QR4 0–0–1 R2 1–3–0 1194
2014–15 Conference
5 46 22 16 8 80 54 +26 79 5th of 24 97th Jon Parkin 25 QR1 1–1–1 R2 1–3–0 1,502
2015–16 Conference
5 46 26 11 9 69 42 +27 89 2nd of 24 94th Jon Parkin 14 R2 2–0–1 R1 0–0–1 1,773

‡ – reprieved from relegation due to Northwich Victoria demotion.
† – reprieved from relegation due to Salisbury City demotion.

Colours and crest[edit]

The previous club badge was very similar to the F.C. Barcelona badge. The flag of St. George appeared on both badges, showing his links to England as well as Catalonia. Rovers' home kit for many years was a black and white striped shirt with black shorts.

In May 2011, the club released a consultation for supporters inviting opinions on the club's decision to change its badge. The new badge was used from the beginning of the 2011–2012 season.

On 2 July 2012, it was announced that the club would change its home strip from its traditional black and white stripes to a lime green shirt with black shorts and socks. The decision to move away from the traditional black and white stripes proved controversial with many supporters. The away strip was also changed to an all-white kit with the dates '1899–2012' near the neckline of the kit to indicate the years when the club first played in an all-white kit and the decision to bring it back in 2012.[15]

In the summer of 2014 the home strip was changed to lime green and black stripes on the front, with a plain green back, green shorts and black and green striped socks. On 19 August 2014 the new away strip was announced, which would be a modern version of the traditional home strip of black and white striped shirt, black shorts and red socks.[16]


Forest Green play at the New Lawn in the hamlet of Forest Green, a short distance away from Nailsworth and 400 yards from the club's former ground, the Lawn Ground, which had been home to the club since it was founded in 1890, and remained little more than a field until the club's progress demanded a series of upgrades from the 1950s. This included terraces, partial levelling of the pitch, the Trevor Horsley Stand and new Barnfield Terrace sponsored by Rockwool, the latter two being moved to the new facility in 2006.

The New Lawn

At the start of the 2006–07 season, Forest Green opened The New Lawn, with the aim to bring Football League football to the club for the first time. The Sustainability in Sport terrace is at the north end of the ground. This terrace is the location for away fans and had previously housed home supporters. A decision by the club at the end of the 2012–13 season saw the areas in which home and away fans were housed at the ground switched with home fans reverting to the EESI Stand at the opposite end of the ground which was converted from seating to a standing terrace.[17] The East Stand is the largest capacity stand at the ground and is a seated stand that contains seven boxes, the 'Green Man' public house, gym, dance studio and conference and leisure facilities. The western side of the ground is an open terrace available to home fans. Although the stadium can hold 5,147 fans, the highest league attendance recorded at the venue so far was 3,781 in a Conference Premier fixture against Bristol Rovers. However, the highest all-time attendance was 4,836 for an FA Cup third round tie at home to Championship side Derby County. The usual attendance is between 1,300–1,800 for National League fixtures.

In April 2009 the ground hosted the Conference League Cup final, broadcast live on Setanta Sports.

In June 2011, the club began work on making the stadium environmentally friendly following the arrival of new owner and green energy entrepreneur Dale Vince. This included developing an entirely organic pitch.[18]

In December 2011, 180 solar panels were installed on the roof of the EESI stand, helping the club generate 10% of the electricity needed to run the stadium.[19] In April 2012, Forest Green introduced the first robot lawn mower to be used by a British football club on to its playing surface. This followed a previous robot mower that had been in service at the club's former ground. The Etesia robot mower – known as a 'mow bot' – uses GPS technology to guide it round the pitch without the need for human intervention and gathers power from the solar panels at the stadium.[20]

In December 2012, the club beat 200 other nominees to first prize in the Institute of Groundsmanship awards in the sustainability and environmental category for its organic pitch and the environmental aspects at The New Lawn.[21]


Current squad[edit]

As of 19 August 2016.

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Jonny Maxted
3 England DF Ben Jefford
4 Ivory Coast MF Drissa Traoré
5 England DF Charlie Clough
6 England DF Dale Bennett
7 England MF Keanu Marsh-Brown
8 England MF Sam Wedgbury
9 Wales FW Christian Doidge
10 England MF Marcus Kelly
11 England MF Elliott Frear
12 England MF Darren Carter
14 England FW Kieffer Moore
15 England MF Liam Noble
No. Position Player
16 England DF Ethan Pinnock
18 England DF Harry Hickford
19 England MF Rob Sinclair
20 England FW Matt Tubbs
21 England DF Aarran Racine
22 England MF Louis McGrory
23 England GK Sam Russell
25 France MF Mohamed Chemlal
26 France MF Fabien Robert
28 England DF Jon Moran
30 France GK Simon Lefebvre
31 England MF Joe Stokes
39 Republic of Ireland FW Rhys Murphy

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
24 England MF Anthony Jeffrey (at Boreham Wood F.C. for the 2016–17 season)
27 Wales FW Blake Davies (on loan at Aberystwyth Town until January 2017)
29 England FW Olly Mehew (on loan at Mangotsfield United)

Coaching staff[edit]

  • Mark Cooper (Manager)
  • Scott Lindsey (Assistant manager)
  • Scott Bartlett (Head of Youth)
  • Steve Hale (Goalkeeper coach)
  • Ian Weston (Head Physio)
  • Tom Heulin (Fitness coach)

Managerial history[edit]

Dates Name Notes
1955–1956 England Bill Thomas
1957–1958 England Eddie Cowley
1958–1960 England Don Cowley
1966–1967 England Jimmy Sewell
1967–1968 England Alan Morris
1968–1979 England Peter Goring
1979–1980 England Tony Morris
1980–1982 England Bob Mursell
1982 England Roy Hillman
1983–1987 England Steve Millard
1987–1990 England John Evans
1990 England Jeff Evans
1990–1991 England Bobby Jones
1991–1992 England Tim Harris
1992 England Glen Thomas Caretaker Manager
1992–1994 England Pat Casey
1994–2000 England Frank Gregan
2000–2001 England Nigel Spink & England Dave Norton
2001–2002 England Nigel Spink
2002–2003 England Colin Addison
2003–2004 England Tim Harris
2004–2005 England Alan Lewer
2005–2006 England Gary Owers
2006 England Paul Wanless Caretaker Manager
2006–2009 Northern Ireland Jim Harvey
2009 England David Brown Caretaker Manager
2009–2013 England Dave Hockaday
2013 England Gary Seward Caretaker Manager
2013 England Scott Bartlett Caretaker Manager
2013–2016 England Adrian Pennock
2016 England Scott Bartlett Caretaker Manager
2016 England Mark Cooper

Records and statistics[edit]


The following honours are mentioned by the Forest Green Rovers Supporters Trust:[22]

Forest Green Rovers Ladies[edit]

Forest Green Rovers Ladies were formed at the start of the 2002–03 season. They compete in the FA Women's Premier League Southern Division at the third tier of women's football in England.

In April 2015, they were crowned FA Women's Premier League South West Division One champions, which subsequently earned them promotion to the highest level in their history.

In their first season, having taken over from the original Chalford Ladies side, the team were South West Women's Football League champions and also picked up the Pat Sowden Trophy. In the 2007–08 season they reached the fourth round of the FA Women's Cup but were knocked out by Liverpool LFC. The following season they reached the fourth round again, this time being knocked out by Leeds Carnegie. In 2009 they became the Gloucestershire County Cup winners following a win over Cheltenham Town Ladies.

An agreement was struck ahead of the 2011–12 season for the Forest Green Ladies side to play home games at Wisloe Road, the home of nearby Slimbridge. This followed years spent playing at the club's first team stadium at The New Lawn and as part of the agreement Forest Green Rovers donated a set of dugouts to Slimbridge and visit for a pre-season friendly every summer.


  1. ^ "Our History". Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  2. ^ "Full-time Leagues". Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "Burgers banned at football club". BBC News. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "Forest Green Rovers vice-chairman Trevor Horsley resigns". BBC Sport. 6 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "Vegan: The New Status Quo?". Huffington Post UK. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Paul and Stella McCartney back Forest Green's vegan ethos". Stroud News & Journal. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Bristol Rovers 2–0 Forest Green". BBC Sport. 3 May 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "FULL-TIME: National League leaders Forest Green make it a magnificent nine wins from nine (From Stroud News and Journal)". Stroud News and Journal. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  9. ^ "Forest Green top of the league after becoming 'world's first' vegan football club". Mirror Online. 7 November 2015. 
  10. ^ "Football club goes vegan in 'world first'". BBC News. 31 October 2015. 
  11. ^ "Forest Green become world's first vegan football club". 3 November 2015. 
  12. ^ "Forest Green Rovers 1-3 Grimsby Town". BBC Sport. 15 May 2016. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  13. ^ Forest Green Rovers archived stats
  14. ^ East Midlands football – Average League Attendance Figures
  15. ^ "New Fixtures, New Players, New Kit". Football Conference. 2 July 2012. 
  16. ^ "Forest Green launch new away kit". 19 August 2014. 
  17. ^ "Chairman Vince in New Lawn switch". Stroud News & Journal. 6 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Forest Green Rovers spread manure on pitch". BBC News. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  19. ^ "Forest Green Rovers football club installs solar panels". BBC News. 4 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  20. ^ "Robot lawn mower used by Forest Green Rovers football club". BBC News. 21 April 2012. 
  21. ^ "Forest Green Rovers FC wins award for 'organic' pitch". BBC News. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  22. ^ "Forest Green Rovers – Club History". Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  23. ^ "Premier Division Honours". Retrieved 11 September 2015. 

External links[edit]