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MEET THE OPPONENTS: Forest Green Rovers

Our series continues as we look at this season's opponents

13 August 2017

League Two new boys Forest Green Rovers are the latest club to go under our new season spotlight.

Nicknames: The Rovers, The Green

Club Colours: Green & Black

Who are they?

Originally founded in 1889, Forest Green Rovers had a difficult start to life which meant they had to re-establish in 1898. They competed in regional divisions during the early years of their existence, becoming founding members of the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League in 1922.

Real progress came towards the end of the 20th century, with the club rising through the Hellenic League and regional arm of the Southern League before reaching the Southern League Premier Di-vision in 1997. Promotion to the Conference followed only a year later.

Play off

They stayed in the Conference for the next nineteen years, with the Rovers narrowly avoiding rele-gation on several occasions. But a takeover from Dale Vince in 2010 sparked an upturn in fortunes, with Forest Green eventually earning promotion to the Football League via the play-offs in 2017.

Did You Know?

+ In 1989 the club was renamed Stroud Football Club, but they reverted to their previous guise of Forest Green Rovers only a few years later.

+ Forest Green reached the final of the FA Trophy in 1999, making them the first side to reach the final of both the FA Trophy and the FA Vase.

Forest Green

+ Rovers actually finished in the Conference relegation zone in 2010, but were reprieved thanks to Salisbury City breaking financial rules.

How did they get on last season?

With a strong squad and an experienced manager at the helm, many expected Forest Green to push for promotion last season. And they didn’t disappoint, with an eventual third place finish seeing them qualify for the play-offs. They got past Dagenham & Redbridge in the semi-final before de-feating Tranmere 3-1 at Wembley.

Who’s in charge?

After a playing career which saw him represent the likes of Bristol City and Exeter, Mark Cooper moved into management in 2004 when he took over at Tamworth. A spell at Kettering followed before he stepped into the Football League with Peterborough in 2009.

Mark Cooper

He was sacked after just 13 games in charge at London Road, later going on to manage Darlington and AFC Telford as well as enjoying a second spell at Kettering. 2013 saw Cooper take over at Swindon, but he departed in 2015 and later took over at Notts County. He joined Forest Green in 2016 and helped the side to promotion a year later.

How has their summer transfer business looked?

Having retained most of their squad from last season, Forest Green have added eleven new players to their side ahead of their debut season in the Football League.

Mark Cooper’s son Charlie has joined from Birmingham City with experienced duo Lee Collins and Scott Laird signing to add to the defence. Bradley Collins has made the move to Rovers from Chelsea while established Football League striker Luke James joined from Peterborough. Jordan Simpson, Harry Pickering, Jack Fitzwater and Alex Iacovitti also add more depth to Cooper’s squad. The summer recruitment was topped off with midfielder Reece Brown and Barnsley’s Callum Evans.

Luke James

They’ve Played For Both

Very few players have turned out for both clubs, but striker Magno Vieira spent time in Nailsworth after his spell at Brunton Park. The Brazilian netted ten goals during a productive loan spell with United, and signed for Forest Green in 2012. He spent three years at the New Lawn and scored five goals in 49 appearances before moving on to Wairarapa United.

Magno Vieira

Defender Mark Ellis spent time on loan at Forest Green last season, while ex-United man Liam Noble currently captains the Rovers.

Memorable Meeting - Forest Green 0-3 Carlisle (21 August 2004)

We have only met Forest Green twice in our history, with our first ever meeting ending in a com-prehensive victory. Andy Preece opened the scoring in the first half with strikes after the break from substitute Magno Vieira and Peter Murphy wrapping up a win.

When Did We Last Meet?

Our last meeting in April 2005 saw Forest Green come out on top thanks to a solitary goal from Damon Searle.

When Do We Meet Next?

We make the trip to the New Lawn on 23 December in what is our final fixture before Christmas, before Forest Green visit Brunton Park on 27 January.

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