Forest Green chairman Dale Vince is no ordinary chairman. His side claims to be the first carbon-neutral football team in the world and have made a number of statements since coming into the Football League.
They only serve vegan food around the ground and use organic materials on the pitch. They’re seen by many as a unique beacon in the crazy world of football, but it’s not to everyone’s tastes.
They’ve also lost around £2.5m year on year in getting to the Football League, with Vince’s company Ecotricity putting up their prices over the same period. Despite this, Forest Green are many eco-friendly football fans’ second favourite side.
Vince has today spoken out in support of the Extinction Rebellion protests in London, even claiming if his own side were leaving a big carbon footprint they’d deserve to go out of business.
He was asked on LBC Radio if he would find it acceptable for protesters to prevent supporters from going to The New Lawn by blocking entrances, a tactic they’re using to bring London to a standstill. He replied: “If they thought that that would achieve something, then yes.”
He was then asked if that would be acceptable if it meant the club disappearing as an entity, to which he replied: “If Forest Green Rovers is a major polluter causing climate extinction, then yes – we’d deserve it.”
The little club on the hill, as they’re known, are currently top of League Two and hunting promotion to the next level.
Sometimes we admire Forest Green, but to every silver lining, there is a huge cloud. We respect their right to an identity and the causes for which they stand are admirable. Not everyone likes their vegan philosophy, but if I’m vegan and I invite you around to my house you wouldn’t be served meat. It’s the same principle there, like it or not.
However, there are plenty of other reasons that the dream isn’t all it seems. The huge financial losses, some rather shabby treatment of players as well as away fans being housed in an uncovered stand.
Still, Vince has his beliefs and that’s up to him. We do wonder if this might have been a thinly disguised dig at other clubs who do not share their philosophy, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.