In what has been (at best) a strange year, you might feel like the world is in a state of crisis and that all is doomed... but fear not, Vanarama National League side Forest Green Rovers are giving everyone a reason to feel good about the world (or at least football) again.
The fifth-tier, Nailsworth-based
In 2010, the longest-serving National League side were the subject of a takeover from green energy tycoon Dale Vince. The self-made millionaire amassed his wealth through renewable energy company 'Ecotricity' - whose name now adorns the vibrant green kit of FGR.
The 'conference Abramovich', who has a reported net worth of over £100m, has since embarked on a personal mission to revolutionise the way things are done in the sport, with regards to ethical sustainability.
Shortly after his takeover in 2011, Vince banned the use of all red meat products within the stadium, to the initial bemusement of the average punter.
"It’s great to hear how a football club took the positive environmental action of going meat free, and how this has been such a success", McCartney said in a statement, published in the Stroud News and Journal.
Sadly, the former Beatle has yet to be spotted queueing up for his half time grub at the New Lawn stadium.
A permanent switch to veganism for fans and players alike came in 2015 and the club has never looked back.
“It’s a surprisingly small step from vegetarian to vegan; it sounds much harder than it is. A lot of vegetarian foods are actually vegan already. Our very popular veggie burger, for example, is actually vegan." Vince told
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating of course: food sales this season are 84% higher than three years ago when we began this journey.”
Indeed, any fears of fans too 'hangry' to cheer on their team were quickly assuaged. Forest Green were
Most recently, FGR announced the winning design for their new home - a 5,000 seater all-wood stadium, designed as part of a new £100m 'eco park', to the principles of the club and its chairman.
The Green Army are coming
Vince, as reported on IOG, also revealed how other top teams have been in touch to discuss how they too can 'green up'.
“We’ve been in conversations with Liverpool FC about electricity supply,” Vince said.
“In return they have helped us develop a capability in-house to analyse players and match day stats to use in recruitment and performance analysis, so it’s a bit of a two-way street."
Back on the (organic) pitch, the football has not suffered. The Green Army currently sit top of their league, nine points clear of the play-offs (the stage at which they fell to Grimsby last season).
Matching their chairman's lofty ambitions of League One may take time, but attaining football league status could be just a few months away and will only attract further attention to their worthy cause.