Green by name and green by nature, the Forest Green Rovers football club based at The New Lawn stadium in Nailsworth, just south of Stroud, plays in League Two – but their eyes are set on a prize far beyond a trophy.
Here at the Edgemoor Inn we avidly follow the fortunes of Forest Green Rovers (FGR), not just because they’re the pride of Cotswold football fans and close neighbours, but because we just love their green ethos and the fact that they’re the only certified vegan football club in the world. This club is definitely a novelty in the footie world, and plenty of visitors come by the Inn on their way to a match at The New Lawn to find out just what our green team is all about.
The big news with FGR at present (apart from winning matches and starting the current season in 5th place in the second league, that is) is the fact that the Club has a planning application awaiting approval with the Stroud District Council for what is going to be the “greenest football stadium in the world”, called Eco Park, to be built beside Junction 13 on the M5. It’s been designed, for a capacity of 5,000, by internationally known architects Zaha Hadid and will be constructed almost completely out of sustainable timber.
It’s ambitious, but just the ultimate goal in FGR’s long pass to becoming what FIFA has described as the world’s greenest football club. They already, at The New Lawn, power everything at the stadium with 100% green energy, some of which they generate themselves. The pitch is organic and pesticide free, mowed with a solar-powered electric lawnmower and irrigated with rainwater collected from under the pitch.
When you attend a game at the stadium you’ll be served vegan food, and be able to charge your electric vehicle at the available charging points.
On the Pitch
FGR players (or the Green Devils, as they are known) have never lacked enthusiasm, right from their first kick off in the hamlet of Forest Green in 1889, encouraged by a local church minister. Membership of local leagues followed, and in 1903 FGR earned their first trophy when they won the Dursley and District League. Then followed a win in the Stroud League in 1912, before the First World War intervened.
In 1921 and 1922 FGR came back into their own winning two local leagues and three cups, before they moved into their official home – The Lawn stadium in Nailsworth, where they lifted the County Cup in 1927.
The club’s fortunes fluctuated during the ensuing years, with both triumphs and tragedies speckling the historical record – even a temporary disastrous change of name to be called Stroud FC occurred in 1989.
FGR always bounce back, however, and after moving into The New Lawn stadium (close to the old one) in 2006 a new era dawned. In 2017 manager Mark Cooper led the team to the Football League following a 3-1 win over Tranmere Rovers in the National League play-off final at Wembley.
Catch a Home Game
If you live locally or are visiting and have never experienced this unique football team then its time to schedule a visit to The New Lawn. FGR aren’t your typical run-of-the-mill football club, and The New Lawn, sitting on a hilltop in the Cotswolds countryside, is certainly not a typical football stadium!
If you want to catch a home game visit the online FGR fixtures list for info and tickets. Don’t forget to pop in to the Edgemoor Inn for a post-match pint and tell us all about it!
Getting to the stadium:
- By car – From the M5 (north or south) exit at Junction 13 onto the A419 towards Stroud, join the A46 then follow signs to Nailsworth. FGR encourage their fans to use public transport where possible, but if you come by car there is a park and ride service from engineering company Renishaw on Stroud Road, GL5 5HA. Parking at the stadium itself can be booked in advance but is very limited.
- By Train & Bus – The nearest train station is in the centre of Stroud. Take the number 63 Stagecoach bus onwards to Forest Green.
- The grounds open 3 hours before kick-off, and the stadium 90 minutes before.
- There’s a club shop at the stadium entrance where you can buy FGR merchandise.
- The matchday menu includes award-winning vegan food and drink, including The Q Pie, commended at the British Pie Awards.
So, there you have it, an interesting and great green day out for everyone, football fan or not.
Why not kick off your visit to The New Lawn by coming to the Edgemoor Inn for a local ale before or after the game, or give us a call on 01452 813576 to book a table for lunch or dinner. Just like FGR, we cater for vegans and vegetarians and our home-cooked meals are based on local produce.