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Going down: Forest Green’s relegation confirmed

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Forest Green have been relegated to the National League after seven seasons in the Football League.

Colchester United’s 2-0 win against Grimsby Town this evening means Danny Cowley’s side are eight points above Rovers in 22nd in League Two, with two games to play, leaving the Nailsworth side contemplating a return to non-league football.

Suffering back-to-back relegations, Rovers have won just a meagre nine times from 44 matches.

In a tumultuous season, chairman Dale Vince hired three managers and two directors of football.

DSC4317 | Going down: Forest Green's relegation confirmed
Dale Vince appointed Steve Cotterill in January Pic: Matt Bigwood

Rovers have suffered two horrific seasons on and off the pitch since Rob Edwards guided them into League One before jumping ship to join Watford the day after their promotion party.

Notts County boss Ian Burchnall was appointed for Rovers’ historic first season in League One, but was axed in January with his side rooted to the foot of the table. Vince turned to former Scotland, Newcastle and Everton icon Duncan Ferguson, but despite the razzmatazz around his arrival, he failed to save Rovers from an immediate return to League Two. Ferguson was sacked before the start of this season and replaced by former Southampton B coach David Horseman just three weeks before this campaign got underway.

Dale David and Louis | Going down: Forest Green's relegation confirmed
FGR boss David Horseman, chairman Dale Vince and assistant Louis Carey were appointed at the start of the season. PIC: FGR

However, Horseman oversaw only four wins and was shown the door just five months into his tenure, making way for player-coach Troy Deeney, who sensationally left just six games later.

PSI NK New Manager Forest Green Rovers 26JAN2023 042761 | Going down: Forest Green's relegation confirmed
Dale Vince and Duncan Ferguson enjoy a vegan burger to toast the arrival at the New Lawn of the former Everton and Scotland striker Pic: FGR

The New Lawn top brass finally turned to Steve Cotterill at the end of January. The former Nottingham Forest and Bristol City boss steadied the ship somewhat, but the damage was already done and despite his efforts he couldn’t avoid the inevitable relegation.

deeney | Going down: Forest Green's relegation confirmed
Troy Deeney’s spell as manager lasted six games Pic: FGR

Behind the scenes, Rovers made a raft of changes in February following a reported loss of £1.3m and administrative expenses soared from £2.3m to £3.5m. 

Director of football Allan Steele, who replaced Stevie Grieve in May 2023 after the latter lasted just five months in post, taking the mantle from previous director of football Richard Hughes, who left for Portsmouth.

Forest Green also parted company with CEO Marcus Reynolds, who was appointed in March 2023, but began his role in June 1, 2023. His previous roles included being a Senior Advisor at Sport New Zealand, Regional CEO with New Zealand Rugby League and CEO at ASB Classic and Tennis Auckland.

Rovers also parted with head of recruitment, analysis, and innovation Will Daniels, Ben Strange, head of football operations, and Iain Paterson, head of matchday and hospitality, also left the club.

Strange joined the club in December 2023 having spent more than four years at Brentford as communications manager with Steele.

Rovers also spent £266,191 on agent fees in the last year – the second highest in League Two.

Wrexham were League Two’s biggest spenders after shelling out £347,027 on agents.

PSI WT Forest Green Rovers vs Accrington Stanley 27JAN23 082 | Going down: Forest Green's relegation confirmed
Fankaty Dabo was a big name signing at the start of the season Pic: Pro Sports Images

Rovers splashed out more cash on agents fees than League One Bolton Wanderers, Bristol Rovers, Oxford United and Charlton Athletic.

In comparison, Forest Green’s Gloucestershire rivals Cheltenham Town spent a meagre £63,100.

Rovers will now face the likes of Mark Cooper’s Yeovil Town as they return to the fifth tier next season.

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