Forest Green Rovers have risen through the many ranks of football and their history, with many promotion campaigns and only two relegations, is indeed something to shout about.
This past season has also marked the centenary of one of the earliest leagues of which FGR were members – Gloucestershire Northern Senior League.  This too is worthy of a big shout! Grassroots football needs to flourish to keep the next generation of footballers coming through and to remind everyone that football is not just ‘The Premier League’.
FGR were one of the founder members – in the first season, 1922/23, Brimscombe were champions.  100 years later in 2022/23 it’s Chalford that have won the league, with the impressive stats of 25 wins, 3 draws and no defeats.  It’s great that most of these village clubs still exist, thanks to volunteers and the popularity of football.

The table from the first season of the league in 1923.

Paul Merson was guest speaker at the Centenary event.

Our club had 33 seasons in the GNSL before going into the County League in 1968. Then came the Hellenic, The Southern League, The Conference and finally the 92, League football. What a proud history!
Back to 2023 and the Centenary.  Phil Butterworth (the writer) and Phil Doble were invited to represent the club at a celebration dinner in Cheltenham in early June. There were over 150 present from all over the county and we sat with directors from Cheltenham, the two most senior clubs in the gathering.  Colin Peake, FGR’s ex Managing Director,  is the current president of the GNSL.
Paul Merson was the guest speaker on the night and he delighted the audience with tales of his very successful career and anecdotes about managers and players he associated with over the decades. There were insights into his days at Arsenal, Middlesborough, Villa and Walsall. His speech was full of humour but the greatest applause was for his conquering of his addiction to alcohol and gambling.
It was a privilege to be present at this centenary event and hear recollections of FGR’s participation in the GNSL before any of those present were born.

Congratulations to Chalford, who won the GSNL this year.