League 2 previews: Forest Green Rovers

Jun 21, 2021 | News

League Two will see three sides named Rovers competing for top honours next season, namely ourselves, Tranmere who we have already previewed and our close geographical rivals Forest Green. It will also be another first, as we haven’t met the side from Nailsworth in the Football League before, though our paths crossed on four occasions in our one season in the National League and there have been countless friendly matches down the years.


Those four occasions during our non league sojourn comprised of two in the league, with the league fixture at Forest Green on 25th August 2014 ending in a 1-1 draw and the return fixture at The Mem being won 1-0 by our visitors. The sides met in the two legged play off semi final at the end of that season, with the Rovers of Bristol winning both games, 1-0 at The New Lawn and 2-0 at The Mem.

Forest Green again reached the play offs the following season but were beaten 3-1 by Grimsby Town in the Wembley final. It was a case of third time lucky for them, though, as they again reached the Wembley play off final in 2016/17 where they were 2-1 winners against Tranmere .

In their four seasons as a league club they have finished 21st, 5th, 10th and 6th and will be looking to improve again next season. For the record, of their 23 home games last season they won ten, drew seven and lost six

(photo courtesy of Neil Brookman)

Formed in 1889, Forest Green played their home games at The Lawn Ground just a few though they played at a ground in Nailsworth between 1924 – 1927 before returning to their original ground.

The New Lawn Ground was a few hundred yards down the hill towards Nailsworth from their present New Lawn home, which they moved into for the start of the 2006/07 season. Already there are plans to move again, to the Eco Park complex near junction 13 of the M5.

They became the world’s first vegan club in 2015 and a number of eco friendly innovations have been installed on site. It is intended that their proposed new stadium will have the lowest carbon footprint of any stadium in the world.

A number of former Bristol Rovers players have turned out for Forest Green, though most of the following played non league football for the Nailsworth side. The following list, which is by no means complete, includes; Julian Alsop, Byron Anthony, Craig Armstrong, Dennis Bailey, Frankie bennett, Steve Book, Billy Clark, Danny Coles, Christian Edwards, Josh Low, Jefferson Louis, Conrad Logan, David Lee, Luke James, Guy Ipoua, Carl Heggs, Lewis Haldane, David Gilroy, Kaid Mohamed, David Pipe, Sean Rigg, Matty Taylor, Andy Sandell and Adam Smith.

Graham Day, who sadly passed away earlier this year, and Peter Higgins were members of the Forest Green side that won the the FA Vase at Wembley in 1982.

Two more former Rovers players who have represented Forest Green in finals are David ‘Boris’ Mehew who was in the side beaten 1-0 in the 1998/99 FA Trophy Final by Kingstonian at Wembley and Billy Clark, who played against Canvey Island in the FA Vase final of 2001. Forest Green also lost that one 1-0 but that game was played at Villa Park.

Whilst there isn’t a manager who has taken charge of both clubs, there are connections. Terry Cooper’s son Mark was in charge at Forest Green until late last season and when he was relieved of his duties. Alan Ball’s son Jimmy took over.

There’s a new man in the hotseat for the new season, though, and unless he gets the sack before we play them, Rob Edwards will be in charge of Forest Green.

From The Mem to the New Lawn is a distance of 31 miles.

Keith Brookman