FOREST Green boss David Hockaday has taken his foot off the gas as he drives an electric dream to the Blue Square Premier title.
He took delivery of a fully electric Nissan Leaf in a green drive towards reducing the carbon emissions that come with the thousands of miles driven each season to training, games, and scouting missions.
Britain’s greenest football club already runs on 100% renewable energy, the players are served a vegetarian diet, and a solar-powered robot lawnmower cuts the organic pitch which uses recycled water – but reducing the impact of travelling is the clubs biggest green challenge.
Just travelling from the Rovers New Lawn stadium to the training ground at Cirencester Agricultural College is a 24 mile round trip that would normally pump out over 5000g of CO2.
Hockaday said: "The car’s brilliant, it looks great, has plenty of go and except for the fact it’s completely silent, you wouldn’t know it was an electric car.
"Not only are there no carbon emissions but it also costs about 15 times less to re-fuel using electricity rather than diesel.
"I do a lot of miles throughout the season, going to training and games, but also travelling to other matches scouting opposition teams and players."
Travelling on any of those journeys over 100miles will be aided by the free rapid-chargers being installed at motorway service stations all over Britain – after Nissan joined forces with Forest Green’s main backer: green energy company Ecotricity.
The New Lawn will not miss out, with a rapid-charger being installed at Rovers HQ in the next few weeks. The Nissan Leaf will be able to re-charge in around 20mins – powered with 100% renewable energy – making them a practical alternative to petrol cars.
And what do Hockaday’s players think of his new wheels?
"Straight away I’ve had players coming up to me asking: ‘Gaffer when do I get one’ – and you know what footballers are like, they wouldn’t want one if they were naff."
Nissan begins making the new Euro-Leaf at their Sunderland plant in April – investing millions in into the UK economy and creating hundreds of new jobs.