Appointing Dingley as the interim manager of the Forest Green Rovers was an ‘easy choice,’ according to the club’s owner Dale Vince.
Hannah Dingley hopes that her ground-breaking role as the first woman to manage a professional men’s football team in England will stimulate young girls to defy barriers.
After the dismissal of Duncan Ferguson, Dingley has taken up the helm as temporary manager of the League Two team, Forest Green Rovers.
She commenced her new role with a 1-1 preseason draw against Melksham Town last Wednesday.
“I’m the first, and it’s wonderful, but I don’t want to be the only one,” shared Dingley, aged 39.
As the inaugural female academy manager, she expressed disappointment in still being the only one.
“To make change happen, we need more women in these positions throughout the clubs.”
Dingley stated that if there are more female coaches in youth football, opportunities will keep increasing as coaches often get promoted from youth football.
“The more women coaches we have in the boys’ game via the academy system, the more naturally change will occur.”
Dingley joined Forest Green in 2019 as the academy manager, and she remains the only woman to manage a men’s English Football League academy.
She was also the driving force behind the club’s girls academy, launched in 2021, having grown up in Carmarthenshire.
Regarding fans asking for autographs and photos after the game at Melksham, she said it was heartening to see the number of girls present.
“We aim to diversify the crowd at Forest Green, inviting more women and girls to watch the men’s and women’s teams. It’s fantastic to see so many young girls. We hope to inspire them, in football or any field, that glass ceilings do not exist, or if they do, they can certainly be broken.”
Dingley, holding a Uefa Pro Licence and having previous experience at Burton Albion, had no qualms about accepting her new position.
She said, “This isn’t a gimmick. This is about those players in the changing room getting the right preparation for the campaign. The team is the priority.”
The 2023-24 season for Forest Green will begin with a home game against Salford City on Saturday, 5 August.
Owner Dale Vince discussed his decision to appoint Dingley, stating that the buzz around the club’s choice had highlighted the importance of what they had done.
“It was a straightforward decision. Hannah was the most suitable person at the club for the role. Nothing else mattered. It’s incidental to the football decision that we have made. As Hannah said, let’s break through the glass ceilings.”
Vince further stated that there would be a recruitment process, which could take several weeks, for a permanent Forest Green manager and, if Dingley wanted to apply, she would be heartily welcome.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hannah Dingley
Who is Hannah Dingley?
Hannah Dingley is a groundbreaking figure in English football, being the first woman to manage a professional men’s football team, specifically, the Forest Green Rovers in League Two.
What position does Hannah Dingley hold at Forest Green Rovers?
Hannah Dingley is currently the caretaker manager of Forest Green Rovers, following the dismissal of Duncan Ferguson. She was previously in charge of the academy.
What was the result of Dingley’s first match as caretaker boss?
Her first match in charge was a pre-season game against Melksham Town, which resulted in a 1-1 draw.
What is Hannah Dingley’s primary goal as a female football boss?
Dingley hopes to inspire young girls to break through barriers and glass ceilings in football, and in any industry. She believes more women should be appointed in decision-making positions throughout football clubs.
Who appointed Hannah Dingley as the caretaker manager of Forest Green Rovers?
The owner of Forest Green Rovers, Dale Vince, appointed Dingley as the caretaker manager, stating it was a straightforward decision as Hannah was the most qualified person for the job.
What’s next for the Forest Green Rovers’ management?
There will be a recruitment process for a permanent manager, which could take several weeks. Dale Vince, the owner, stated that if Dingley wanted to apply, she would be warmly welcomed.