Nothing quite beats the opening day of the season for football fans. The roar of the crowd, the nervous excitement and the hopeful optimism that perhaps this could be your year. With the English Football League having now begun, football fans throughout the UK will be relishing the opportunity that a new season brings. None more so than the small following of Forest Green Rovers.

The club secured promotion to the English Football League back in May, making history in the process by ending a 128 year wait. Although this is truly an amazing feat there is far more to the “little club on the hill” than just their impressive progression up the football ranks.

Forest Green are the planet’s only, eco-friendly, vegan football club and were recently described by FIFA as the “greenest football club in the world”. Forest Green’s owner, Dale Vince, is a committed vegan, environmentalist and entrepreneur whose company, Ecotricity, was the world’s first Green Electricity Company. Vince has channelled his passion for the environment into the club after acquiring them back in 2010 on the brink of administration. Forest Green’s ground, The New Lawn, has since been fitted with photo-voltaic solar panels, charge points for electric cars and they even have a solar powered ‘MowBot’ that keeps the grass short.

The club have also launched Britain’s first “meat-free and environmentally sustainable menu for football fans” and although the players vegan diet isn’t enforced outside of the club, all players are given vegan meals on training days and no animal products are sold inside the ground. Forest Green supporters have reportedly taken well to the clubs new menu which has replaced the meat based junk food usually on offer, with veggie burgers, falafel wraps and Quorn pies. This is a huge step forward for veganism within the sport and Forest Green’s recent accolades should only help to compound the benefits of a plant based diet.

Rovers kicked off the season yesterday with a 2-2 draw against Barnet, despite leading 2-0 before half time. Although some fans may have gone home disappointed with the result there is no doubt that Forest Green Rovers should be hugely proud of the accomplishments of not only the players but the club as a whole. We wish you the best of luck for the rest of the season.