August 15 2012

Green carpet rolled out for Manchester United

Gary Neville chats with former Manchester United colleague and now Forest green Rovers player Phil Marsh before kick-off

Not many football fans will have been to a stadium with orchids growing in the grounds, a wild flower development program, an organic pitch or an owl roosting in the roof of the grandstand – but then not many stadia have the green credentials of The New Lawn, home of Forest Green Rovers.

These eco-credentials made The New Lawn an ideal venue for Sustainability in Sport’s first fund-raising event, which saw Forest Green Rovers take on a Manchester United XI.
But this was no charity kick-about and the 3,207 fans in attendance were treated to a serious preseason fixture, with some fine football from both sides and an eventual 2-2 draw following a 90th minute equaliser from the hosts.
The fixture was organised by England football coach and former United star Gary Neville and FGR chairman Dale Vince – founders of the Sustainability in Sport Foundation.
Neville said: "Everyone has seen the power of the Olympics to inspire the younger generation and that’s what we also want to do.

"We need to promote the sustainability message and make people more aware because these issues are not going away and sport itself has a big environmental impact that cannot be ignored."

Vince said the game had been a huge success, and was just the beginning for the Foundation.
“Hosting Manchester United at The New Lawn was fantastic for Forest Green of course, but it was also a great way to launch our fund raising work for Sustainability in Sport.
“This is about ‘changing the rules of the game’ by putting environmental issues at the heart of all sport. That’s our mission.”
For the record: Forest Green 2 (Klukowski 46min, 90) v Manchester United XI 2 (King 31, Agnaldo 71).

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