FGR Matches From Seasons Gone By – 2007/08

Some years ago the The Supporters Club rescued a number of match videos from going to the dump.  The quality of the video material doesn’t match current day levels that FGR operate at but they are historic records of seasons gone by.  A selection of the match videos have been digitised by The Supporters Club and will now be released via this webpage and via the FGR website – our thanks to FGR for this.

The videos cover a chunk of FGR’s progress through the Conference from the 2001-02 season and we hope that you will enjoy watching the action over the weeks.

We can’t guarantee that you will enjoy watching, but then hey, what’s new ?!!!

2007 – York City v Forest Green

The 2007/08 season was a strong one for Rovers, eventually finishing 8th in just their second season at The New Lawn.

This game comes in a hot run of form at the start of the campaign, as FGR travelled to York on the 24th August 2007. The attendance was 2294.

2007 – Forest Green v Stevenage Borough

Forest Green welcomed Stevenage to The New Lawn in September of the 2007/08 season, for what turned out to be a spectacular 90 minutes of football. Watch every kick from this six-goal thriller right here. 

2007 – Forest Green v Kidderminster Harriers

This game takes place on a chilly Boxing Day afternoon, as Kidderminster Harriers visit The New Lawn.

Here’s a full summary of the 2007-08 season

Jim Harvey was FGR’s manager, in his first full season at the Club.  A top half finish was now the hope from supporters for the forthcoming season, having finished brightly the season before. Stuart Fleetwood was brought in and his partnership with Mark Beesley was to prove very rewarding indeed for all associated with Rovers.

The first game, away at Oxford United, saw a 1-0 reverse, but this was followed by 3 wins on the trot and a draw on August Bank Holiday Monday against Torquay United, leaving Rovers riding high in the Conference.  Jonathan Smith also joined the club soon after the start of the season.

Stuart Fleetwood started to score for fun, assisted by Mark Beesley, and had 11 goals to his name by the end of September including a brace in the win against Stevenage Borough and a hat-trick against Cambridge United on the following Saturday.  The performances on the pitch were well above the norm but attendances still struggled with only 719 and 1179 people turning up to see Rovers for the games mentioned.

Rotherham United FC v Forest Green Rovers FC – FA Cup Round 1 Replay – 20th November 2007 – Chris Giles celebrates his goal in a remarkable win that created a bit of club history

Rovers then went unbeaten in October including an FA Cup 4th qualifying round replay win against Eastleigh at The New Lawn, setting up a 1st Round home tie against Rotherham United.  The match took place on Sunday, 11 November at The New Lawn resulting in an entertaining 2-2 draw in front of 2102 spectators. Jim Harvey’s Rovers then made history in the replay on 20 November, beating Rotherham 3-0 for FGR’s first ever win against Football League opposition.

Rovers then faced Swindon Town in the second round on December 1 for the first-ever competitive meeting between the two clubs.  More than 1000 Rovers supporters made the short journey to Swindon to watch a thoroughly entertaining 3-2 defeat to the Robins in blizzardy conditions.

The quality of football being played won plaudits nationally and the 29 goals of Stuart Fleetwood by the end of December brought him to the attention of a number of Football League clubs.  The partnership between Fleetwood and Mark Beesley was the best that the club had ever had in the Conference.

Stuart Fleetwood scores at Swindon

Rovers travelled to meet league leaders Aldershot towards the end of January and came away with a 1-0 win courtesy of Beesley’s goal in the first minute.  Mark made 1 further appearance for Rovers on the following Saturday at home against Exeter City in a 1-1 draw, and then moved to Cambridge United for a 5 figure fee, funds much needed by the Club.

The Conference League Cup was re-introduced for the 2007-08 season as the Setanta Shield, to coincide with live TV coverage provided by Setanta, and a 1-0 win saw off Hampton and Richmond Borough in the Club’s first appearance, before falling to Woking in round 5.   In the League at the end of March, Rovers beat Burton Albion 3-1 on Bank Holiday Monday in front of the TV cameras, and with 6 games remaining, a play-off place remained mathematically possible.  But optimism waned after two consecutive draws against relegation threatened Halifax and Northwich, and a home defeat to Rushden.  1 further win against Farsley Celtic and then 2 draws to end the season left Forest Green Rovers in 8th place, and 10 points off a play-off position with 71 points. The highest ever league position had been achieved and supporters went away for the summer full of optimism for the season to come.

It was disappointing for the Club that Stuart Fleetood did not wish to sign another contract for the following year. There is always a balance about how long a playing contract is, and the club have been criticised in the past for not putting players on long contracts, and sometimes too long contracts.

Stuart visited Crewe Alexandra and had a chance to sign and work with Dario Gradi, which would have been his wisest move, and FGR had £250,000 on the table for him to sign. But then Charlton Athletic offered a lower fee to us but higher wages and he moved to Charlton at the end of the season.  He never really played a game for Charlton Athletic.  If Stuart had gone to Crewe then it is arguable that the history of the club may have been different, because a 6 figure sum like that would have been invested in certain areas which would have helped sort some of the problems.

Mark Beesley had been at FGR for some years and people starting to notice Mark alongside Stuart Fleetwood.  Cambridge United made an offer for Mark Beesley at Christmas, were rebutted by FGR, and then came in again. Mark wanted to move and felt that Cambridge probably gave him the better chance of winning something than Forest Green did.  And from the day that Mark moved, Stuart Fleetwood’s performances tailed off, that his goal provider had gone.

In March 2008 another EGM had been called by the Club, to again discuss the proposed move to a company limited by shares.  The cost of short term loans was reported as badly affecting cash flow, and discussions were taking place with mortgage providers to secure more favourable terms.  The proposed share offering for the new company was to have a minimum purchase of £1000, hoping to raise a substantial sum for FGR. 

The club’s accounts again stated that “The new premises are expected to provide more scope for income generation and the directors are looking forward to improved results for the company over the next few  years”, but no improvement in sales was materialising.