They play on an organic pitch, eat a vegan diet and are sponsored by green energy company Ecotricity – and soon they will be playing their football in the English Football League.
Yes, Forest Green Rovers – aka the ‘green devils’ – won promotion from the National League after beating Tranmere Rovers 3-1 at Wembley Stadium on Sunday (14 May).
While the team has a long history – it was established in 1889 – the ‘greening’ of Forest Green Rovers, who play in the Forest Green area of Nailsworth in Gloucestershire, is a recent phenomenon.
In June 2011, the club began work on making its stadium environmentally friendly following the arrival of new owner and green energy entrepreneur Dale Vince. This included developing an entirely organic pitch. 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.
Known affectionately as the ‘£100 million hippy’, Vince has also put his team on a vegan diet and introduced plant-based catering at the club’s ground.
“At FGR we have the opportunity to create a truly sustainable football club, which would be a world first”
“At FGR we have the opportunity to create a truly sustainable football club, which would be a world first. Somewhere we can demonstrate all of our thinking and technology, and through that engage with a new, large and passionate audience. A global audience ultimately. It’s the chance to introduce some Eco into the world of sport,” says Vince.