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Day: August 26, 2011

Food For Thought At Forest Green Rovers

After another close shave with relegation last year Forest Green Rovers have enjoyed a decent start to the season, they’ve picked up a few points, turned down an offer from Luton for striker Reece Styche, who then signed a new deal to keep him at the New Lawn and seen six of their players named in the England C squad. But once again the non-football stuff is still troubling some of the fan base.

Back in May I wrote about how Forest Green Rovers were undergoing a little off the pitch rebrand, a new club crest, a ‘removal’ of red meat from the menu on match days and at events, a tying together with Ecotricity, the energy company run by chairman Dale Vince. A former new age traveller, Vince has very strong eco-ethics – he drives an electric car, has an electric motorbike and is a green-energy evangelist. He is a committed vegan, he supports local environmental schemes such as the Bee Guardians and without shadow of a doubt saved Forest Green Rovers from oblivion when he became the major shareholder around this time last year.

He is also a very shrewd businessman, who has turned Ecotricity into a big, successful brand. And therein surely lies the key to some of the long-term plans for the club, outlined on the natty new website (which includes Ecotricity’s green union jack down the...

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Europa League Matters: A Calm Rather Than The Storm?

As the results began filtering through from the different corners of Europe as Europa League matches concluded, a feeling that this tournament means something, despite its marginalisation as UEFA’s second class competition, was also transmitted. This should be qualified, however, by mentioning its level of importance appears to differ accordingly, as by the end of the night some rather illustrious clubs with rather weighty histories were bitterly reminded that these games are won or lost on the park and not on the length of a CV. Likely the heaviest thump heard came north of Hadrian’s Wall, where the remaining three Scottish Premier League clubs all exited Europe before group stage competition for the first time in 56 years. While Heart of Midlothian was expected to exit after having allowed five away goals to Tottenham Hotspur at Tynecastle, the Old Firm was generally expected to provide at least one Scottish representative to have its name called for the Europa League proper, but even that ended as quickly as Daniel Majstorovic’s night in Switzerland. It was not just Scotland’s clubs that would have slightly flushed faces in the end, though, as AS Roma, Sevilla, and Partizan Belgrade all fell at the first hurdle in European play. Granted, Partizan might not immediately spring to mind when thinking of a high profile continental club, but the Serbian side has won its domestic league the...

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