For two years the Gloucestershire clubs have been in England’s fourth tier league fighting out trying to claim the ‘top club’ in Gloucestershire.
The FGR fans will be happier given how Mark Cooper has managed to take the club from fighting relegation to pushing for playoffs.
Robins fans meanwhile, will be feeling disappointed given that they have been in League two a year longer than their neighbours and yet results have been mixed.
So how has the turnaround in powers switched to The Green Army from Johnny Rocks stadium? In simple terms finances, quality of players and different aims.
A Switch in Power?
From snatching the National Vanarama Championship off FGR, gaining promotion into the football league and securing their status as a league club the following year, it looked as the power of the dominate club belonged to Cheltenham Town.
However, since the arrival of Mark Cooper’s side in the football league they have established themselves as a football league side and now are pushing for a place in the play offs.
Whilst FGR have managed to complete all this in only two seasons, The Robins have really struggled in League Two with their highest finish last season and now find themselves 12 places behind their neighbours in the league table.
From the looks of this, it seems that the dominance Cheltenham Town use to possess in Gloucestershire now seems to have switched over to The New Lawn. Just how have Mark Cooper’s side managed to achieve this?
One of the biggest arguments Robin fans will immediately point at is their financial backing. Unlike FGR, Cheltenham Town have very limited finances which restricts their transfer signings to either loan signings or free transfers. Where as at The New Lawn their financial situation allows them to buy in top quality players.
It is clear to see from both clubs Transfer Windows what they set themselves to achieve in the season. Cheltenham knew they needed a new striker after loosing star man Mohammed Eisa to Bristol City in the Summer. During that time they did sign five new forwards in hope to replace the fan favourites. Most them signed from either Loans or Free Transfers. Compared to FGR’s transfers took in a range of players and many from top flight teams. They set themselves of aiming high and are currently meeting their ambitious
[Luke Varney joined CTFC on a free in hope to solve their striker woes]
Can Cheltenham Town restore their dominance or will FGR rule Gloucestershire Football?
At this current moment, it looks as if The Green Army will be a force to be reckoned with in Gloucestershire with The Robins lacking in funds and player quality compared to Mark Cooper’s side.
One big factor Cheltenham may need to consider is to try and stay with long term as often as they can. Gary Johnson was in charge of the robins for two seasons before being sacked earlier this year. If the Robins want to find a form of success and get higher in the league table, to stick with a manager and give them the opportunity and time to build the squad that they need.
Though Michael Duff has been brought in to help keep the Robins up, next year [if they stay up] could be the time to allow the former Burnley assistant to develop a potential squad to challenge the size and quality of FGR. If this did become the case, CTFC fans could potentially see an up turn in fortunes.
But at the current moment what Robin fans will be hoping for is a climb up the league table and secure their safety in the league again come May. Yet if FGR secured a play off place and got promoted into League One then it would be very hard for Cheltenham Town’s claim of being the biggest club.
Eventually, Cheltenham fans will grow frustrated with the lack of ambition from the club and especially since FGR have managed to achieve a lot more, in a shorter period of time.
Not bothered by #ctfc FA Cup defeat today. Wasn’t even excited by the prospect of drawing a big name away in the 3rd round and watching them send out a check-a-trade line-up in front of empty seats. Well done @FA and @premierleague. #facup
— Laurence Horton (@LaurenceHorton) 2 December 2018
[Signs of Fans loosing their belief in the clubs ambition?]
Who is the Biggest Club in Gloucestershire?
At this current moment in time, it is very hard to argue against Mark Cooper’s side. Higher in the league table, showing progress and ambition within a few seasons and possessing a higher quality squad overall.
[Mark Cooper lead Forrest Green to a strong unbeaten start this season]
This does not mean that FGR will hold their dominance. A way that would secure that is by being promoted into league one.
A feat that they can reach if they can re kindle the form that they had at the very start of the season.
Whether or not Cheltenham Town will ever get to that position is something fans will have to wait for till next season.