Tag: Forest Green Rovers

(Enchanted) Forest Green and Vince charming

Plans for a new club crest are the latest in a series of changes for Conference survivors Forest Green Rovers. Once upon a time there was a little club on a hill which was the luckiest club around, they stayed in the Conference year after year. One day a rich eco-Prince took over. The rich prince was a clever man, who wanted to spend his money wisely – he said he had a long-term plan for the little club on the hill and bit by bit he set about making Forest Green Rovers a meaner, greener club fit for the 21st century. Yes, after once again escaping relegation by the skin of their teeth everyone’s favourite AGM Cup contenders are using the summer to revamp their club crest. But will a new club badge really change the image of the team or is it another publicity stunt? Since eco-millionaire and green guru Vince became the majority shareholder at the New Lawn there have been rumblings of change. Media savvy, Vince has never been one to shy away from a choice soundbite, so within his first few months at the club he professed to have no real knowledge of football, said he’d consider changing the first team strip to a pink shirt and said relegation wouldn’t really be the end of the world for the club. He’s not handed the...

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Daylight (Bank Holiday) Robbery: the cost of policing a non-league game

A £3k policing bill looks set to spoil Gloucester City’s weekend but is it justified? Football hooligans, they are on the rise in parts of Europe (some of the blogs about Russia are particularly scary) but in the Blue Square North? Really? There have been a few well documents ‘issues’ this year – Nuneaton v Telford, Stafford v Telford – but nothing outside the realms of two former giants meeting at a lower level or what is essentially a local derby. Tyres have been thrown, windows smashed but no massive hooligan riots, no significance violence on the terraces. The Association of Chief Police Officers’ figures for last season show that 11 AFC Telford United fans are currently the subject of banning orders and none were handed out last season. Although it’s fair to note a few have been dished out this season albeit for unsavoury behaviour at a local derby, mainly due to the Stafford game. Its hard to remember the last time someone was arrested at a Gloucester City home game, the gate is rarely over 350 and has dropped below 200 on a couple of occasions this year, its normally home fans with a handful of hardy northerners who’ve braved the motorway to the most southern outpost of the league. So what would prompt Gloucestershire Police to possibly hand GCAFC a rumoured £3,000 bill for the Easter...

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The AGM Cup: Or How To Avoid Relegation, The Non-League Way

With the AGM Cup looking set to decide the non-league pyramid’s final placings once again, Jenni Silver looks at some of this year’s possible contenders. It should be the most exciting time of the season, promotions, play-offs and relegation dog-fights, the glorious month which ends the football season. But forgive me for not really feeling it this year. Somehow I know the Blue Square North table after the last game has been played won’t really tell the true story of the winners and losers of the league. The same can be said of its sister league in the south and the BSP too, along with several of the feeder leagues. As with the past few seasons the real winners will come in the AGM Cup, the clubs who are lucky enough to be handed a reprieve at the expense of another club with no ground grading/ financial woe/ big tax bill (delete as applicable.) Give it a few years and we will effectively be back in the days when clubs were voted in and out of leagues and relegations didn’t count if you had the right connections. I’m not being dramatic here, last year no one was relegated out of the BSN or into it from the BSP thanks to Salisbury and Northwich being booted down the pyramid (Grays Athletic, Farsley Celtic and Chester City had already dropped out...

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From College Football To A-League Glory

What have Chichester City, Swindon Supermarine, the Brisbane Roar  and a rural agricultural college in the Gloucestershire countryside got in common? It’s a fairly obscure bit of trivia, which helps chart the footballing career of defender Matt Smith, who went from the County League title with Chichester to winning the A-League Grand Final with the Brisbane Roar, via a state league title with Palm Beach, a league title with Swindon Supermarine, a BUSA title with Hartpury College and the 2007 World Uni Championships. Not a bad career trajectory for a young man who just four years ago was at Cirencester Town, playing in front of crowds of around 150 as the Centurions battled to stay in the Southern Premier League (they stayed up by default thanks to Hayes & Yeading merging.) On Sunday he was part of the Roar side who fought back from 2-0 down with two goals in the final minutes of extra time, before beating Central Coast Mariners on penalties to lift the club’s first Grand Final victory, the crowd at the Suncorp Stadium was a 52,000 sell out. But speak to the down-to-earth 28-year-old and he will credit much of his success to the years he spent studying in the UK and the influence of the staff at a little known college, which is quietly gaining a reputation for its football academy. Smith studied for...

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Grays Athletic 2-1 Forest Green Rovers

All of the decisions at the top of the Blue Square Premier table have already been made, but the final day of the season brings an intriguing battle to avoid relegation from the league and the most poignant of the fixtures is the one at The Recreation Ground, Bridge Road, Grays. As football venues go, The Recreation Ground is a pretty unprepossessing one. When the club somersaulted into the Blue Square Premier five years ago new terraces were built at either end of the ground and small covered enclosures popped up in front of the flats that run the length of side of the pitch. In spite of these developments, The Recreation Ground, hemmed in by buildings on all four sides, remained a defiantly non-league ground in a league that has started to assume many of the pretentions of professionalism over the last few years. Today is The Recreation Ground’s last game. The ground was owned by the Billings family, and a twenty year lease was signed by the club in 1990. However, Grays have been unable to reach agreement with the family and it has now been sold for housing. The club has been linked with moves to nearby Thurrock, East Thurrock United and Tilbury, but nothing has been confirmed. What we know is that Grays won’t be taking a place in the Blue Square South next season....

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