During The Imps first season back in the Football League, and Forest Green Rovers first ever season in the Football League, The Imps picked up all six points against Saturday’s opponents. City won the first fixture of the season between the two sides 1-0 on Tuesday 12th September at The New Lawn, in front of a crowd of 1,887. In the second and final fixture between the two sides last season, The Imps won 2-1 on Saturday 30th December, in front of a crowd of 8,964.
Harry Anderson was The Imps goalscorer in the away match in the 65th minute. In the home match, Matt Rhead put The Imps ahead in the 8th minute, before Christian Doidge levelled the scores in the 24th minute. Matt Rhead scored a second in the 57th minute to win the match for City.
Anyway, time for the Q&As!
Thank you to Forest Green Rovers supporters “King Giraffe III” and Tom for answering our questions!
(You can get to the other set of answers by clicking the name above or by using the “Click here for the next page” button at the bottom of the page!)
How long have you supported Forest Green Rovers?
Thirty years ago this year. I grew up in Forest Green and started watching in the late 1980s when Rovers were in the second tier of the Southern League. I was lured in by watching a local cup match against Shortwood United, the other non-league club in Nailsworth. I enjoyed what I saw and stuck around.
Where did you finish last season?
21st. One solitary point above the drop zone, although safety was secured with three matches to go.
What do you think of your Manager?
He’s not popular in Lincoln, is he? I’ve never totally taken to Mark Cooper as a manager but he has won me over. It may sound ludicrous but I do feel we underachieved in the season both FGR and Lincoln were promoted from the National League. After we lost at your place Cooper began to tinker with the side and we stuttered into the playoffs where we rediscovered form. Last season was very odd given that we started with a squad poorer than that which had one promotion. I don’t know how much of that was down to the manager but things weren’t helped by his insistence on playing his son Charlie for a fair part of the season. Cooper Jr is the only FGR player I can recall being booed off by his own fans after he got a red card in one home match. That caused quite a divide between Mark and parts of the support. It’s only in the past month or so that the relationship has healed. This season Mark has assembled a much better side that is capable of playing some great football.
What are your hopes and expectations for this season?
Our current 6th position is well beyond my expectations. In August I would have been content with FGR finishing above the relegation scrap without truly getting involved in a struggle. Now, though, I would be disappointed if we finish below 12th.
One(s) to watch?
Midfielder Reece Brown is a totally changed player from the one that seemed very lightweight and drifted out of matches last season. He’s often played slightly deeper now, has better players alongside him and we’re seeing the benefits. He’s also scored a couple of good goals of late too. If he maintains his form I don’t see us holding onto him beyond the end of the season.
Who do you think will finish in the top 7?
Any predictions I make at the top of the table always seem to go badly wrong. I expect Lincoln, Exeter, Newport and MK to be four of them. I wouldn’t like to pick the others as it’s so tight.
Who do you think will finish in the bottom 2?
I expect Morecambe and Macclesfield will be the unfortunate pair. I’m sure many FGR supporters will hope Cheltenham’s fortunes won’t improve. They need a big January transfer window for new manager Michael Duff to bring in his own players. I suspect they will scrape by.
What are your thoughts on Lincoln City?
I don’t have any strong feelings either way but I have a lot of admiration for what the Cowleys have achieved, both in Braintree and Lincoln.
What do you think the score will be?
We seem to raise our game against the better sides but I think a lot depends on goalkeeper Robert Sanchez. He’s usually very good on crosses and his shot stopping is decent, but his confidence can’t be the highest. He made an awful error that gave Exeter a goal last weekend and has conceded a few needless penalties. If Sanchez is on his game then we’ve got a reasonable chance of picking up a point. I’ll be optimistic and say 1-1.
What will your likely default formation and style of play be for this season?
We often play with three at the back, wingbacks and two deep midfielders. I guess that makes it 3-5-2, but I would not be surprised to see us play just one up front on Saturday. It’s the usual Cooper style of passing football.
Random fact about your Club?
The font used on the club badge is Lublin Graph.
If you could steal one Lincoln City player for your own team, who would it be and why?
I love Matt Rhead’s style of play. He reminds me a lot of our former player John Parkin; you love his elbows and his aggressive style if he’s your player but tend to hate him if he’s turning out for the opposition. For all the flack he cops from the self-righteous in Nailsworth, I don’t think anyone would say no to grabbing him on a free transfer!
What are your proudest and most embarrassing moments as a Forest Green Rovers Supporter?
My proudest moment was watching Rovers win the Southern League Premier at the very first attempt in 1998. That whole season was fantastic and included a memorable away win at our neighbours Gloucester City. The title race between us and Merthyr Tydfil went down to the final week of the season; we overtook them with a 3-1 win at home. The most embarrassing thing was the club’s attempt to rebrand itself as Stroud Football Club at the back end of the eighties. It was done with good intentions but it attracted constant ridicule from everyone I knew.
Who would you say is your most underrated player?
Fullback Joseph Mills has really impressed me. He signed from an Australian club and has been very consistent on the right flank. He loves to get forward and is the type of player who can make things happen. For whatever reason people don’t seem to have taken to him as much as I thought they would.
Do you have a Supporters Trust and what role do they play at the Club?
I’m willing to be corrected but I don’t think there is one these days.
Which was your favourite match involving Forest Green Rovers?
The 3-2 win in the FA Trophy Final second leg back in 1999 against St Albans City. We fought back from being 2-0 down and held tight against a barrage of attacks in stoppage time. It was a match that had tension, atmosphere, excitement and wonderful entertainment.
Which was your least favourite match involving Forest Green Rovers?
The 2016 National League Playoff Final is an easy pick to make. I made the trip to Wembley with a lot of expectation. We’d finished second behind our good friends from Cheltenham and I was desperate to see us get promoted with them. We turned in a terrible first half and were fortunate to be only 2-0 down at halftime. You could blame our ‘keeper Steve Arnold for one, maybe both of Grimsby’s goals. It was all over by halftime and I upped and left.
What are your thoughts on the star on this seasons shirts?
My toenails curled when I heard the news. On face value, it seems a very arrogant step for the chairman to put the three stars on the shirt to denote the goal of promotion into the Championship. With hindsight, I suspect he knew the discussion and publicity it would create. The stars themselves are very small and inoffensive on the new shirts so I’ve less of a problem with them.
The stars issue is pretty typical of what I’ve come to expect with Dale Vince era FGR. The badge has been changed, the club colours have been changed, but these things have been offset by what has happened on the pitch.
What is the latest on your possible Stadium move?
Just this week chairman Dale Vince said that he’s expecting a thumb’s up from Stroud District Council’s Planning Department sometime in the New Year.
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) November 1, 2018