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OPINION: New Forest Green Rovers Head Coach Duncan Ferguson brings more to club off the pitch than on it

Duncan Ferguson was unveiled as the new head coach of Forest Green Rovers this past Thursday and it’s arguably the biggest moment in the clubs 134-year long history.

Owner and chairman Dale Vince has brought in the Everton legend to turn around Rovers’ fortunes in what’s been a struggle of a first ever season in League One so far.

But what Ferguson will bring to The Bolt New Lawn goes far beyond what happens out on the grass come matchday.

Forest Green have been real trendsetters since the takeover of the club by Vince back in 2010 with their well-documented green energy and vegan lifestyle mission.

And the acquisition of a man like Ferguson will only further fuel the PR machine that is Forest Green.

Digital executive Laurie Martin spoke on the spike of media attention the club has gained in what’s been a whirlwind couple of days since Ferguson’s appointment.

“I really didn’t expect it to gain as much traction as it did,” began Martin.

“We were on course for a good month in terms of interactions anyway, but it’ll now easily be our best month ever.

“Our Twitter impressions are up by 962% from last month and we’ve gained 11,000 new followers since Duncan’s appointment.”

The announcement has brought a real feel-good factor and has really boosted the atmosphere around the club which has been down over the past few months.

The fans really got behind the team during the 2-1 defeat to Shrewsbury Town on Saturday and Ferguson’s name was sung nonstop by the Rovers faithful.

Ultimately its results that are going to be the key to success for Ferguson but getting the fans behind the team and excited to follow them again is massive.

“It’s big for the fans and on the PR side of things,” continued Martin.

Duncan Ferguson on the touchline at Montgomery Waters Meadow

“It’s crazy because Forest Green have never had a managerial appointment like this. Speaking to people this morning we’ve had three people order shirts with ‘Big Dunc nine’ on the back.”

Ferguson will also bring a massive positive impact to the commercial side of Forest Green and the sponsorships and partners involved at the club.

The club have accrued an impressive list of partners in years gone by from Quorn to Oatly to Sea Shepherd, the sponsors of this year’s third kit whose aim is to help clean up the seas.

And with a figure like Duncan Ferguson at the helm, this impressive list is sure to grow in the years to come.

Some of Forest Green Rovers’ Partners

Martin added: “The name in itself gets people on board, gets sponsors on board. We do well as a club with partnerships, but this is just going to push it even more.

“Everyone just wants a piece of the action now and that’s only going to help with the growth of the club.”

The immediate main task at hand now though is for Ferguson to first and foremost try to keep Rovers in the third tier of English football.

But come May if Ferguson and his side are celebrating on the final day at The Abbey in Cambridge after survival, things could look very different.

The club will firmly be in the strongest position it has ever been in, ready to attack the next step of their plan, reaching the Championship.

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