'I was asleep, I was bombarded with messages' - Forest Green boss Hannah Dingley on making history

  • Video report by Ross Arnott

The new caretaker boss of Forest Green Rovers said she was actually asleep when the club tried contacting to tell her she was going to make history.

Hannah Dingley has become the first female to take charge of an English professional male football team.

Dingley was appointed to the role on Tuesday evening after it was revealed the League Two club had parted company with Duncan Ferguson.

The decision meant that she would make history the very next day, with the side set to take on Melksham Town FC in a pre-season friendly.

Hannah Dingley has been with Forest Green since 2019, managing teams in the club's academy.

Speaking ahead of the match the owner of Forest Green Dale Vince said that the decision, which sparked a huge amount of interest in the club, had been made on merit.

"What is right about it is that Hannah is the right person for the job at the club," he said.

"It also pushed the boundaries for women in the game and I think it will be good for her and the club as well.

"I think this is a really good thing for women in men's football."

Dale Vince speaking to ITV News in the summer of 2023.

The game itself finished 1-1 as both sides continued their preparation for their upcoming season.

"It is a bit embarrassing but I was at home sleeping and them my phone started buzzing and I woke up thinking what on earth is happening here," she said.

"It has been incredible and I am really grateful for the support I have had from friends and family and the people right across the football world.

"I think the most important thing is the role modelling and young girls who love football can now see this move and see that if you work hard that opportunities will come.

"I love what I do but I have been incredibly grateful to have this amazing opportunity."

The Forest Green Rovers owner Mr Vince and Hannah Dingley remained coy when quizzed over whether she would be in the running for the job on a full-time basis but fans at the match seemed keen to see her get the job permanently.