Kicker is Germany’s leading sports magazine founded in 1920 and focusing primarily on football. The magazine recently published a feature about Rovers. Here’s an extract for you;-
“England’s climate neutral club wants to rise
Dream made of wood: How Forest Green Rovers became the greenest club in the world
The Forest Green Rovers are the stark alternative to the Super League. They only play in England’s fourth division. But their commitment to sustainability has already earned them honors from the United Nations and FIFA. Now the biggest project of the “greenest club in the world” is coming up.
It looks a little like in the Middle Ages, but here everything should revolve around the future. Below Stroud, a small town in Gloucestershire with almost 13,000 inhabitants, on top of a hill is the castle-like property, in which, although not the prince, but the most famous man in the area lives and looks down on the people. Dale Vince, the landlord, does not want to rule from above, but rather to take the people with him. Especially the fans of the Forest Green Rovers, but by no means only them.”
His club, located 180 kilometers west of London, is on a mission. The Rovers want to be an example to the world of football – in terms of food, jerseys and the new stadium, which is to be made entirely of wood. The topic of sustainability was already important in the club when organic was not yet booming. But of course the Rovers also want to move up to League One, England’s 3rd division.
It looked very good for a while this season, but the descent began in the spring. The club does a lot differently, but sometimes you get caught up in the day-to-day business of the Rovers too. After four defeats in a row, coach Mark Cooper, who had been in office since 2016, had to leave two weeks ago. Club owner Vince emphasizes that they will “stay friends forever”, after all, under Cooper 2017, they made the leap into League Two. Under interim coach Jimmy Ball, the play-offs should at least be secured. There are still three game days left, the Rovers in 6th place, chased by Salford City, the club of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville Brothers.
Owner with special ideas – and a special outfit: Dale Vince.
Vince, 59 years old, is known as a restless, quick-talker who can be both shy and very direct. The Guardian recently visited him and described him as “Britain’s richest hippie”. At a young age he traveled the world for a long time, partly in a 30-year-old fire truck. Sometime in the late 1980s, Vince had the idea to set up wind turbines and use them to generate electricity. What was initially ridiculed as whimsy grew into a decent business. In 2019, his company Ecotricity had a turnover of 230 million euros and has long been operating charging stations for electric cars.
Since he took over the Rovers in 2010, Vince has also brought his ideas to football. The club, founded in 1890, already had “Green” in its name. “It was actually just a rescue mission, nothing more,” says Vince. The club was in debt, it helped out. “But already on the second day I noticed that we were serving our players red meat.” He’s been vegan himself for a long time, so he had the meals at the club changed. For the players that was less of a problem, “they realized that meat tends to damage their performance.” But when it came to serving the fans at home games with tofu burgers and vegetarian pies, “I feared riots.”
You can read the full article at the link below (you may need your device to translate it for you). Many thanks to our german Supporters Club member, Kim, for pointing this one out to us.
The current organization retains the legal name of Forest Green Rovers Supporters Society Ltd, with the popular name of Forest Green Rovers Supporters Club, and is constituted as Co-operative and Community Benefit Society Society. We continue to invest in FGR and remain an important focal point for supporters to demonstrate their support for Forest Green Rovers Football Club.