Forest Green Rovers make new managerial appointment after naming first female boss

Forest Green Rovers have decided to replace Hannah Dingley with Southampton’s B team boss Dave Horseman ahead of the start of their 2023/24 season in League Two

Hannah Dingley, Interim Manager of Forest Green Rovers

Hannah Dingley was interim manager of Forest Green Rovers

Forest Green Rovers have hired Southampton’s B team boss Dave Horseman as their new head coach.

Rovers had made history by naming Hannah Dingley as the first woman to manage a professional men’s team in England. But Dingley, who has only been in charge of the team since July 5, will step down from the role on Thursday, allowing Horseman and assistant Louis Carey to take over.

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

“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.”

Dingley, who has a Uefa Pro Licence, had been appointed as interim manager and was overseeing the team’s progress during a pre-season trip to Ireland. She will take charge of the team for friendlies against Coventry City and Everton under-21s this week before stepping down.

Horseman takes over the club following their relegation to League Two, which came under Dungan Ferguson. Vince said Horseman had stood out from over 100 applicants to succeed Ferguson.

“Louis and I have been lucky to be involved for a long time in professional football and study from some elite coaches which we will bring some ideas with us,” Horseman said. “The supporters can look forward to seeing a team with energy and aggression and one that they can be proud of.”

Dave Horseman Southampton B Team head coach Dave Horseman joins from Southampton, where he was their B team head coach (


Isabelle Field/Getty Images)

Horseman worked as a first-team coach at Saints under their third manager of the 2022/23 season, Ruben Selles, and has previously coached at Bristol City and Watford. He helped Saints’ B team edge out Leeds under-21s on goal difference to win the Premier League 2 Division Two title last season.

Speaking after her appointment as interim boss earlier this month, Dingley insisted it was no gimmick. “It’s the first and it’s great, but I don’t want to be the only,” she said. “It’s slightly disappointing that as the first academy manager – the only academy manager – because we need more females in these positions in clubs.

“If we can get more females in the boys’ system in academies this will happen more and more. This isn’t a gimmick. It’s about those players getting preparation and, if anything takes away from that, it’s probably the wrong thing to do in the first place.

“We just need more open-minded people to let these situations happen.” Forest Green begin their League Two campaign against Salford City on August 5.