Forest Green Rovers
We took a trip to The New Lawn Stadium to visit Forest Green Rovers who claim to be the only Vegan Football Club in the world! We chose their fixture versus Lincoln City.
Forest Green Rovers are currently enjoying their first ever season in League One, having been promoted at the end of the 2021/22 season by winning the title on goal difference with a huge 84 points.
This season has been less prolific with the club sitting bottom of the table and recently changing the Manager, appointing former Everton player and temporary Manager, Duncan Ferguson. Whilst a visit to Forest Green Rovers had been on our radar, this extra dimension has propelled our visit forward!
We had been warned of climbing the hill before the game so we arrived early to see where we could park. Unfortunately the parking at the school and in the club grounds itself were permit only, however opposite we located a cul-de-sac called Carters Way and whilst already busy we were able to park here free of charge, just a two minute walk from the ground.
We expected some unusual things at the New Lawn Stadium due to their environmental stance, however arriving at the ground and seeing Solar Panels was a completely new experience and set the scene for the day. These cover part of the roof of the stands too, apparently providing 20% of the clubs energy!
We did some research on the other environmental routes which the club has taken and it’s impressive – LED Boards around the pitch are powered by the sun, Food Recycling Points are evident around the stadium, whilst the club shout about their refillable dispensers to eradicate the use of single-use sachets. The pitch is organic and this season are recycling toilet water for use back on the pitch.
Outside the ground is a nice large area to socialise. Brewdog are a permanent fixture with their beer truck offering their Lost Lager which is brewed using wind power and a third less water!
Most people associate Forest Green Rovers with being the Vegan Club and whilst this isn’t something we practice ourselves we were keen to try it out.
The Green Man Pub is an inside drinking venue where you can sit down, watch any live matches on the TV’s and grab food and drink. We set a poll on Twitter asking whether we should try the Vegan food on offer and 72% people said Yes!
We opted for the Q-Pie along with some chips. The pie is of course Meat-Free and uses quorn as the main ingredient. The pie itself was £4.80 and the tray of chips an additional £3.50. We didn’t think this was unreasonable, in fact the pricing continued to impress us throughout the afternoon.
In the Green Man we opted for a pint of Budding from the local Stroud Brewery which was an Organic Pale Ale and very tasty. This was served in, yes you guessed it, a recyclable cup.
Organic Pale Ale
Inside the Ground
Inside the ground we had seats on Row B which were elevated enough from the ground to offer a great view. We normally worry when sitting in a low position but this was great.
The areas to purchase food were spacious and there were ample toilets, and in good condition too. We were again impressed with the “normal” cost of purchasing cans of green cola, no massively inflated prices here which is fantastic.
In-front of us were other Everton fans, here primarily to support Duncan Ferguson in his first permanent Managers position. This match was very important however “Big Dunc” had so much time for the FGR fans, waving to them as he crossed the pitch, even taking time to pay special attention to one fan! What a guy!
Forest Green Rovers v Lincoln City
The match started in the worst possible way for Rovers when Lincoln opened the scoring after just 4 minutes, and what a strike it was. The ball was crossed from Regan Poole and Ben House instinctively met it on the volley. He couldn’t have connected any better and the sheer speed of the strike gave the keeper no chance.
On a cold afternoon, Duncan Ferguson was, as always, suited and booted, marching the technical area with encouragement for his team.
The new Manager had to wait until the second half to get back into the game. On 58 minutes Jordan Garrick, a January signing from Swansea, who had spent the first half of the season on loan at Lincoln, equalised for Rovers.
Forest Green Rovers were better in the second half and either team could have snatched a victory. In fact the last chance fell to Rovers but keeper Rushworth tipped a last gasp effort around the post. The home fans on more than one occasion were not happy with the man in the middle, with continuous fouls being awarded against them and a possible penalty denied.
Final Score: 1-1
Left Back Jamie Robson
OK, so let’s clear this up. Our round trip to see Forest Green Rovers was almost 400 miles in a Diesel vehicle so we haven’t really played our part environmentally. However we leave the club with a greater understanding of what can be achieved.
What the club are doing is impressive, on this particular matchday it was free entry for kids and they had many people around the stadium offering free packets of sweets, it was impossible not to receive them, and they were good quality too.
The future for Forest Green Rovers is a brand new stadium and we look forward to experiencing that in the future. You can find out more about the clubs environmental efforts here.
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