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Hannah Dingley makes history after being named Forest Green caretaker head coach

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Forest Green have appointed Hannah Dingley as caretaker head coach, making her the first woman to take charge of an English Football League club.

The Gloucestershire club appointed Dingley following the departure of Duncan Ferguson.

The 51-year-old Scot was appointed in January but he was unable to keep them in League One, with Rovers winning just six of their 46 games.

Rovers have now moved to install Dingley in interim charge, making her the first woman to lead a men’s professional senior team in England.

Forest Green chairman Dale Vince said on the club website: “Hannah was the natural choice for us to be first team interim head coach.

“She’s done a fantastic job leading our academy and is well aligned with the values of the club.

“It’s perhaps telling for the men’s game that in making this appointment on merit, we’ll break new ground – and Hannah will be the first female head coach in English (men’s) football.”

Dingley will continue preparations for the club’s opening pre-season fixture against non-league Melksham Town on Wednesday night.

“I’m really excited for this next step of my career,” she said. “Pre-season has just begun, and the full season kicks off very soon. It’s an exciting time in football.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to step up and lead such a progressive and forward-thinking club.”

Forest Green have previously demonstrated a desire to steer away from the conventional in their recruitment of head coaches.

In May 2021, Vince told the PA news agency that a female coach working in the Women’s Super League had been a standout candidate to become the club’s new boss until it emerged her CV had been put forward without her knowledge.

Commenting about Ferguson’s departure earlier on Tuesday, Vince said: “It had been a privilege to work with Dunc these last few months and this was a very difficult decision to make.

“I’m grateful to Dunc for joining us in such difficult circumstances and for all of his hard work at the club.

“But I feel this is overall the right decision for everyone and I wish Dunc well in his next coaching role. We are parting as friends. You can’t ask for much more than that.”

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