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Trailblazer for women

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Forest Green rovers have made it a habit of creating history and being the trailblazers in football. They were at the forefront of the sustainability campaign in football, and have now hired the first woman coach of a professional men’s senior side in English football league. Hannah Dingley has been appointed the interim head coach of Forest Green Rovers and has already taken charge of a game.

So, who is Hannah Dingley? Here are all the details-

Who is Hannah Dingley?

39-year-old Hannah Dingley from Wales is a footballing woman through and through. She has spent most of her career coaching or playing with boys’/men’s teams in the lower leagues.

She has been a trailblazer since her childhood. When her school did not have a girls team in football, she happily stood alongside the boys and played for that team.

She has coached men’s university teams as well as in non-league men’s football. l

Her first proper break arrived in 2013, when Burton Albion, now in League One, appointed her as an academy coach.

She impressed so much in the role that within three years, she was appointed as a coach for the senior team.

After leaving Burton, her adventure at Forest Green Rovers began.

The first step of history was created when Forest Green appointed her as the head coach of the club academy. She was the first woman to coach a men’s academy team in England.

Finally, landmark history was made when she was appointed head coach of the senior side.

Her first game in charge was a 1-1 draw against a non-league side.

Speaking about her role and the impact it can have on young girls, she said (via BBC):

“It’s the first and it’s great, but I don’t want to be the first and only. It’s slightly disappointing as the first female academy manager I’m still the only female academy manager.”

“Hopefully then we are inspiring young girls whether it’s in football or any industry that there aren’t these glass ceilings and, if there are, then you have just got to break through them,” she added. 

Owner Dale Vince was equally as enthusiastic about the appointment, saying it was a “very simple decision” as Hannah Dingley was the “most qualified person at the club for the job”.

Hannah Dingley’s future at Forest Green Rovers

It is worth noting that her title as of now is that of a caretaker manager. The club let go of Duncan Ferguson after the team performed poorly.

It is the pre-season and it can be expected that the club will look at hiring a permanent manager before the season begins.

Therefore, Hannah Dingley’s current role, as the title suggests, will likely remain interim.

Still, it was a huge show of confidence by the club in her abilities. Dingley has been tasked with leading the club through a period of uncertainty.

A steady hand at the helm now will undoubtedly help other teams be confident in making such hires in the future.

Managers like Emma Hayes have been waiting for an opportunity in the men’s game and have arguably done more than enough to deserve it.

Someone like Hannah Dingley can open up numerous paths for females aspiring to have a presence in the men’s game.

Vatsal Gupta
A die-hard Red Devil, who has straight up not had a good time since 2012. Lives on Korean dramas and books and can often be heard talking about armchair psychological stuff.

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