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Dale Vince talks about Forest Green Rovers’s brand new wooden stadium

Dale Vince talks about Forest Green Rovers’s brand new wooden stadium, and it’s certainly produced quite the reaction from fans online.

It was back in November 2016 when the club announced the winning design for a proposed 5,000 seat new stadium to be built within the Eco Park complex next to Junction 13 of the M5 in Gloucestershire, 1.5 miles west of the town of Stonehouse (and 8.5 miles northwest of their spiritual home of Nailsworth).

The design is for a stadium to be made almost entirely of wood, including the roof cantilevers with a planned increased in size to 10,000 capacity depending on the club’s success.

These plans had initially been rejected by the planning authorities in June 2019 but revised plans were approved later that year with the EFL giving the green live in February 2021, with the new stadium will have the lowest carbon footprint of any stadium in the world.

Vince said in 2021 that the club would be able to play games at the stadium within “three or four years”.

“My name is Dale Vince and I’m the chairman of Forest Green Rovers. We’re the greenest football club in the world and we’re planning a new stadium. There’s five things I want to tell you about it.

“The first is that it’s been designed by Zaha Hadid’s practice and they’ve made some really beautiful sports stadia all around the world.

“Second, it’s going to be made entirely out of wood. Obviously, we can grow trees to make wood, whereas concrete and steel are finite resources. You’re probably thinking, well, what about fire? Modern timber is engineered to be fire retardant and is actually safer in a fire than Steelers.

“Number three, because we’re making it entirely out of wood, it will be the lowest carbon footprint sports stadium anywhere in the world.

“Number four, it’s been designed to allow the breeze to flow through it, because in enclosed stadia, quite often you have to have a fan in the summer to keep the grass cool. We don’t have that problem. It’s been designed specially for that.

“Fifth, and not least, there won’t be any lighting towers. Our pitch will be illuminated by LEDs running around the rim of the roof.”

Eco Park | WE ARE FGR

New Forest Green Rovers' wooden stadium plans submitted - BBC News

Despite his club getting all kinds of labels attached to their name, have Vince says he doesn’t care because it means more people are taking notice of what his club are trying to achieve.

“What we have found as we have gone up through the leagues of football and through the pyramid of football is we have a bigger platform for our message,” said Vince, as per the BBC.

The League Two club have been on a mission ever since to become more environmentally sustainable while also being successful on the pitch.

In a bid to become more environmentally sustainable, they’re opting for a fully vegan menu, powering their stadium with renewable energy, installing charging points for electric cars, recycling water, buying electric groundskeeping equipment, putting in an organic pitch, and putting information around the stadium about climate change.

Just some of these are also being considered in Oxford United’s new stadium plans. See more HERE.

“I think we’ve proven one of the most important things is that fans are just like anybody else and if you put the information in front of them, they embrace it,” he said.

“We’ve had fans who are changing how they live – going vegetarian and vegan. I have people tell me every game how it has changed their life – they’re getting electric cars, solar panels and that sort of stuff.

“Our fans don’t tolerate what we’ve done, they’ve embraced what we’ve done. Our crowd is four times bigger now, we sell 10 times as much food as we did before.”

Though pleased to win the BBC award, Vince has no intention of halting the momentum.

“We keep innovating,” he said. “We’re hoping to get an electric team bus in the next 12 months and we think maybe we can travel to at least half our away games next season by electric coach. Maybe one day we may even fly to a game with an electric plane.

“Aside from that, we have a new location planned – Eco Park, a stadium made entirely out of wood, which is a really important issue.

“I think it is good to have ambition – get to the Championship and have a bigger platform for our message and continue having fun as a football club.

“Our message is helping to propel us. We probably have the biggest sponsorship income in our league. It’s one example of how our message helps to propel us.”

It is the platform football and sport have that Vince feels can really help to drive progress.

“In every sphere of life we have to change and we have to green up, so sport isn’t immune from that,” he said. “But at the same time, sport has a unique place in our lives and an opportunity – it is influential.

“We’re working with the United Nations on a programme called Sport for Climate Action, which is intending to harness the fandom of people around the world for any kind of sport to make them fans of the environment.

“That’s how we can bring big change to the world.”

Here’s what fans said as Dale Vince talks about Forest Green Rovers’s brand new wooden stadium…

@kevjohnson77: I am sure the 812 fans attending will love it

@PieCarlton: Will look great in the National League

@GeoWordz: Can they just focus on winning matches. That will be a good start

@ScottishVikingr: Absolute nutter

@Majortarantino: Love the replies from people that genuinely seem to think it’s got to this stage and nobody has thought about fire being an issue 😂🤦🏻‍♂️

@0075Duncan: Amazing stadium! This is what football’s clubs should be choosing, over bland copies of stadiums like Man City, Arsenal etc. They should be individual so you are excited visiting something different each week. 👏🪵

@chalkey1973: Thats 10x to big for them

@disco_shippers: The problem is, there just isn’t enough interest in football in that area, they don’t have the fanbase.

@darrylmorris: Super cool 👏🏻 love it

@VillalonFrankie: Gotta get fans first

@groundhopper23: “The lowest carbon footprint stadium in the world”. But not as low a carbon footprint as staying where they are, in a perfectly suitable stadium for their level, in the heart of the community. How is asking their fans to travel 7 miles to watch home games “carbon friendly”?

@darrell_ben: New stadium hahaha. You lot struggle to get even 2000 in a 5k stadium 😂😂

@tomnm2001: Think it’s refreshing to see this, especially for a smaller club, a lot of stadiums in the last 30 years are so “samey” (leicester, scum, doncaster, cardiff, reading, cov, derby, etc) – and only huge clubs can afford something more original (spurs, everton)

@M4Nt2: People get annoyed that rich people don’t do enough and the burden is seemed to be on the average Joe when it comes to sustainability/climate, then when someone rich does do/plan something at his cost and they still get annoyed.

@ollie_walker: This does sound and look really cool tbf

@SFC_Copey: Average home attendance of 2036. What a waste of time, money and resources that is.

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