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First woman to manage pro English men’s team replaced after two weeks



Club Friendly - Melksham Town v Forest Green Rovers - Oakfield Stadium, Melksham, Britain - July 5, 2023 Forest Green caretaker head coach Hannah Dingley is seen by the bench after becoming the first woman to manage a men's professional team in England Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley/File Photo

Forest Green Rovers coach Hannah Dingley’s spell as the first woman to manage a men’s professional football team in England will come to an end this week after the fourth-tier club appointed David Horseman as their new head coach.

Dingley, who has a UEFA pro licence, was appointed as caretaker head coach earlier this month following Duncan Ferguson’s exit. She was also the only woman to manage a club academy in the English men’s league.

Horseman arrives from Southampton where he coached the south-coast club’s B team, but Dingley will remain in charge when they take on Coventry City and the Everton Under-21 teams in friendly matches this week.

“I’m grateful to Hannah for holding the fort for the club while we went through the complete recruitment process,” Forest Green owner Dale Vince said.

“Although she did not get the top job this time, it’s undoubtedly been a valuable experience and a big step on her career path.”


Horseman also coached the Southampton first team when Ruben Selles was in charge and Vince said he stood out from over 100 applicants.

“We’re delighted to have David join as our head coach, he brings a wealth of experience and a modern approach to the game which matches our own,” he added.




Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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