By Manuel Sánchez Gómez
Stroud, United Kingdom, Oct 2 (efe-epa).- On the approach to the New Lawn football stadium, a few features rarely seen at soccer ground catch the eye — the solar panels, the charging stations for electric cars and architectural details accentuated with green paint.
Welcome to the humble home of Forest Green Rovers, recognized by Fifa as the most sustainable football club in the world.
In one of the stadium’s stands, which has the capacity for 5,700 fans, club chairman Dale Vince spoke to Efe about his ethos and the changes he has made for the local team.
“I think we didn’t just create a new kind of football club, I think we created a new kind of football fan,” Vince says.
The club currently plies its trade in the fourth division of English football, League Two.
But on this sunny yet windy morning, the seats are empty, save for the owner, a journalist and a photographer.
Covid-19 has forced the club to wind down its activities. A grounds-keeper makes his way across the 100% organic pitch and another worker paints one of the barriers that separates the fans from the action.
Despite this, Vince, a multi-millionaire, remains as driven as he was 20 years ago when he first arrived in Stroud, not far from Bristol in the southwest of England, which has been home to Forest Green since 1890.
Vince is not your typical football club owner. He amassed his fortune through his company Ecotricity, the United Kingdom’s foremost reusable energy firm, which has been providing electricity to thousands of houses and businesses since 1998.