Forest Green Rovers owner Dale Vince (file pic). PA

Forest Green owner: Female boss would have made shortlist – if she had applied

The Gloucestershire club confirmed last month they had received applications from men and women for their head coach vacancy.

A COACH in the Women’s Super League was a standout candidate to become the first female boss in the men’s game at Forest Green – until it emerged her CV had been put forward without her knowledge.

The Gloucestershire club’s owner and chairman Dale Vince said last month they were open to appointing a female head coach to succeed the outgoing Mark Cooper, insisting football was “in need of evolution”.

None of the final five people – from around 100 applicants – ultimately shortlisted for interview were women, although the League Two club were convinced at one stage there was a standout female candidate.

“The woman that we really liked for the job dropped out, or in fact was never quite in,” Vince told the PA news agency.

“It’s an amusing story. When we got in contact it turned out she hadn’t sent the CV in herself and her agent hadn’t either. Somebody else had sent the CV in and she’s not ready to leave the job she’s in.

“She was in the Women’s Super League, I can say that much. She was definitely shortlist material, no doubt about it.”

Vince said the five shortlisted candidates had now been interviewed, but that his preference was to wait until the conclusion of the club’s League Two play-off campaign to confirm the new appointment in order to avoid creating a distraction.

The club trail Newport 2-0 from the first leg of their play-off semi-final on Tuesday night, with the return home leg to come on Sunday evening.

Vince still believes the club’s next boss will buck the trend, saying: “We’re not looking for a ‘name’ from the club merry-go-round that exists, or one of the established manager types to become a coach.

“We’re looking deeper into the game at up-and-coming coaches who are going to bring an added modern perspective with them to what we already have and we can really embed that at the club.”

The club continue to innovate in other ways too and on Thursday launched the digital version of next season’s home and away kits.

Supporters will be able to upload a picture of themselves in order to purchase a virtual shirt for £5 or a full kit for £10.

It follows on from efforts to use more sustainable materials in the manufacturing of the club’s physical kits – first bamboo two years ago and then trialling a shirt made using coffee grounds earlier this year.

Vince said: “We bumped into the concept of digital fashion whereby you have clothes fitted to your image and you can use that image online and on social media.

“It’s got to be the lowest-impact form of material available – you don’t own it in the real world, you own it in the digital world.”

Fans will also be able to pre-order the physical kit from Thursday.

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