Hannah Dingley is the first woman to lead an English Football League club after Forest Green Rovers named her as the team’s interim head coach. Dingley was hired by the Gloucestershire club when Duncan Ferguson left.
The 51-year-old Scot was hired in January, but with Rovers winning just six of their 46 games, he was unable to maintain them in League One.
Dingley is currently the first woman to serve as the temporary manager of an English men’s senior professional side thanks to a move made by Rovers.
On the club website, Forest Green chairman Dale Vince stated: “Hannah was the obvious 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.”
Dingley will keep working on getting ready for the team’s Wednesday night preseason game against non-league Melksham Town.
“I’m really excited for this next step of my career,” she said. “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.”
In their selection of head coaches, Forest Green has historically shown a desire to deviate from the norm.
A female coach in the Women’s Super League had been a prominent candidate to become the club’s new manager until it was discovered that her CV had been submitted without her knowledge, Vince told the PA news agency in May 2021.
Commenting about Ferguson’s departure earlier on Tuesday, Vince said: “It had been a privilege to work with Dunc these last few months and this was a very difficult decision to make.
“I’m grateful to Dunc for joining us in such difficult circumstances and for all of his hard work at the club.
“But I feel this is overall the right decision for everyone and I wish Dunc well in his next coaching role. We are parting as friends. You can’t ask for much more than that.”