For Christmas 2016, Wonderful Husband bought me a Forest Green Rovers FC football shirt. I’m not from the area nor have I ever watched them play, so weirdly, what may seem quite a random present was actually a mega, thoughtful present because… Forest Green Rovers are the world’s first vegan football team (to some extent!).
In the incredibly unlikely event that you’re not aware of the success achieved by The Green Devils (as they like to be known as) get ready to bask in vegan glory… On Sunday 14th May 2016, Forest Green Rovers FC were promoted to the English Football League!
It’s like a vegan fairy tale. The club is super eco-friendly which entails promoting veganism… But let’s be a bit more specific. Apart from the Chairman, Dale Vince, I’m not aware of anyone else at the club that adheres to a vegan lifestyle. However the players are provided with a strict vegan diet when training at the ground and they are banned from eating red meat.
Taking meat out of their diet has significantly improved the performance of many athletes (check out my previous article). Also, Wonderful Husband, being an Arsenal supporter, told me that back in his Arsenal playing days, Robin Van Persie also cut red meat out of his diet. He said that Van Persie noticed a distinct difference in his performance. Unfortunately the only evidence I have to back up this very flimsy claim is Wonderful Husband’s word and a questionable article (here) with no sources. But hey… It probably happened.
Getting back to the mighty FGR, chairman Dale Vince is all about the environment and has totally fed his morals into the football club. This includes an organic pitch (both insecticides and pesticides have been banned), solar panels have been installed (that even power the lawnmower!) and all the club’s water and rainwater get’s recycled.
On top of this, the club only sells vegan food at the ground. For you hardcore non-vegan football fans, you may think this is a travesty, however the club has been awarded the Menu of the Year Award 2016 for their tasty vegan cuisine. This award had previously been won by establishments such as Lord’s Cricket Ground and the Eden Project. I’m tempted to go just to try their famous Q-Pie!
I think it’s great that a football team promoting veganism has done so well, some fans have even become vegetarian since the overhaul at the club. We can’t suddenly equate veganism to winning football games (because to be fair, Dale Vince has ploughed a whole lot of money into the club which means they can buy better players) but it does mean that their new diet has not had a detrimental effect to the club and maybe even a positive one.
I’m looking forward to following The Green Devils on their vegan adventure in League Two next season.
Vegan power! 💚