News 5 July 2023

First female manager of a professional men’s football team appointed

5 July 2023

One football club has made history by appointing Hannah Dingley as their caretaker boss, making her the first woman to manage a professional men’s team in English football.

Forest Green Rovers made the decision after the League Two side sacked Duncan Ferguson, who had been in charge for just six months.

Dingley, who headed the club’s academy before this appointment, will assume temporary control of the first team.

She already holds the distinction of being the only woman to have managed a men’s English Football League academy. Furthermore, she spearheaded the establishment of the club’s girls’ academy, which was launched in 2021.

With a Uefa Pro Licence and previous experience at Burton Albion, Dingley is well-equipped for her new role. Her debut match as caretaker manager will take place in a friendly against Melksham Town on Wednesday.

Expressing her enthusiasm, the 39-year-old stated, “I’m really excited for this next step of my career. 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.”

Club chairman Dale Vince expressed confidence in Dingley’s capabilities, stating, “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.”

With her appointment, Hannah Dingley paves the way for other women in football and assumes a great responsibility in inspiring future generations of female coaches and leaders in the sport.

[Image via Instagram / @fgrfc_official]