Hannah Dingley: Forest Green Rovers make history by appointing first woman to lead men’s professional team in England

Forest Green Rovers have confirmed the ground-breaking appointment of Hannah Dingley as caretaker head coach.

Dingley assumes the role following Duncan Ferguson’s departure, making her the first woman to take charge of a men’s professional team in England.


The League Two side have broken new ground in English footballCredit: Twitter @FGRFCOfficial

“Hannah was the natural choice for us to be first team interim head coach – she’s done a fantastic job leading our academy and is well aligned with the values of the club,” Forest Green chairman Dale Vince said.

“It’s perhaps telling for the men’s game that in making this appointment on merit, we’ll break new ground – and Hannah will be the first female head coach in English (men’s) football.”

Dingley will continue preparations for the club’s opening pre-season fixture against non-league Melksham Town on Wednesday night.

“I’m really excited for this next step of my career. Pre-season has just begun and the full season kicks off very soon. It’s an exciting time in football,” Dingley said.

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“I am grateful for the opportunity to step up and lead such a progressive and forward-thinking club.”

Forest Green have previously demonstrated a desire to steer away from the conventional in their recruitment of head coaches.

In May 2021, Vince told the PA news agency that a female coach working in the Women’s Super League had been a standout candidate to become the club’s new boss until it emerged her CV had been put forward without her knowledge.

Commenting about Ferguson’s departure earlier on Tuesday, Vince said: “It had been a privilege to work with Dunc these last few months and this was a very difficult decision to make.

Vince has never shied away from a big decision


Vince has never shied away from a big decisionCredit: getty
Ferguson was only in charge of Forest Green for five months


Ferguson was only in charge of Forest Green for five monthsCredit: Getty

“I’m grateful to Dunc for joining us in such difficult circumstances and for all of his hard work at the club.

“But I feel this is overall the right decision for everyone and I wish Dunc well in his next coaching role. We are parting as friends. You can’t ask for much more than that.”

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