Kick It Out hail Hannah Dingley appointment at Forest Green

Kick It Out hail Hannah Dingley appointment at Forest Green

Hannah Dingley’s historic appointment at Forest Green has “smashed the glass ceiling”, anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out has said.

The League Two club announced Dingley as their caretaker head coach late on Tuesday night, making her the first woman to manage a professional men’s team in England.

Dingley has been the head of the Gloucestershire club’s academy and succeeds Duncan Ferguson on an interim basis after his departure from the club was confirmed earlier the same day.

Kick It Out welcomed the news in a tweet on Wednesday morning which read: “That’s the sound of a glass ceiling being smashed!

“Congratulations Hannah on becoming the first woman to manage a men’s professional football team in England.”

Dingley’s first match in charge will be the pre-season friendly away to Melksham on Wednesday evening.

She said: “I’m really excited for this next step of my career. 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.”

Rovers chairman Dale Vince has spoken previously about the club’s openness to breaking new ground, and said a female coach working in the Women’s Super League was the standout candidate to succeed Mark Cooper in 2021, but that her CV had been submitted without her knowledge.

On Dingley’s appointment, Vince said: “Hannah was the natural choice for us to be first team interim 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.”

Women In Football chair Ebru Koksal tweeted in response to the news, describing Dingley as “a very qualified, capable, well-equipped coach” who had broken “norms and barriers, hopefully not only as a caretaker, but as a permanent appointment”.

The EFL’s head of equality, diversity and inclusion Dave McArdle described Dingley’s appointment as a “welcome moment for English football” and added: “With many highly skilled and experienced coaches across the game, it was only a matter of time before the ongoing positive development of female coaches led to an opportunity in the first team at an EFL club.

“It has always been a key priority for the EFL to create an environment in which clubs consider qualified candidates from an ever-widening pool of coaching talent and select the best possible person for a role.

“This represents another step forward as we strive to make our game representative of the communities we serve.”