Forest Green yesterday dispensed with the services of Mark Cooper after the little club on the hill fell away from the automatic promotion places in League Two.
That means a hunt for a new Head Coach, and it seems that once again, Forest Green Rovers could be breaking boundaries, with chairman Dale Vince seemingly hinting at the possibility of a female in the lead role.
“I think we’ll take a new direction in our recruitment. Maybe we’ll break some new ground,” he said in an interview with Alistair Durden of the BBC. The comment seemed open-ended, and when pushed, he continued; “(we could) recruit the type of person who has not been recruited before to be a Head Coach.”
Unsatisfied, Durden then asked if Vince was hinting at employing a female, which would be an EFL first, and Vince replied: “I don’t want to hint, but it could be.”
Earlier in the morning Vince, owner of Ecotricity, tweeted that the club had already had more than 70 Cv’s and that he could be making an interesting announcement in the next few weeks. “We’ve had a shedload of CVs in already and based on what we can see, I think we’ll make a very interesting appointment in the next few weeks,” he put out on his own social media channel.
Forest Green are currently sixth in League Two, still in the hunt for a play-off place, but five points shy of the automatic places. If teams below them win their games in hand, then they would fall out of the top seven altogether.
Mark Cooper was in charge of FGR for five years, starting in 2016/17 when he led them to a play-off victory against Tranmere Rovers in the National League.
Since then, they have become established as a League Two club, but have not been able to take the next step, despite seeing the likes of Lincoln City and Tranmere, rivals of their in 2016/17, go on to the next level.
Of course, employing a female head coach would be a big step for any club, but the point is surely not about gender, but ability. Forest Green have always done things differently, they have a member of Massive Attack on their staff and are famously vegan too. Employing a female coach would fit their persona of doing things differently, but it would be a disservice to do so just because they were female.
Wimbledon were thought to be considering Emma Hayes before they appointed Mark Robinson, but it would be arrogant to assume that just because a men’s team wanted a female coach, someone like Hayes would leave a club playing in Europe for away days to Barrow and Grimsby. Where Forest Green go with their new Head Coach will be fascinating.