Meat off the menu at football club
Published 11/02/2011 | 21:37
For football traditionalists standing on the terraces with a meat pie at half time was what Saturday afternoons was all about, but along with the terraces and 3pm kick-offs, pies, burgers and sausages have been kicked into touch by one football club.
Instead supporters will be offered vegetarian food and organic chicken and fish at Forest Green Rovers, who play in the Blue Square Bet Premier League. The club said the red meat ban had been taken on health grounds.
Club chairman Dale Vince, a vegan and wealthy entrepreneur, first introduced the ban on the Gloucestershire club's players and has now extended it to fans and guests who will be offered free-range poultry and fish - sourced from sustainable stocks.
Mr Vince, who runs green electricity company Ecotricity, said: "A few weeks ago the decision was taken to no longer feed our players red meat.
"The decision was taken on performance and health grounds. Following that it seemed quite right that if red meat was not good enough to feed our players, then it wasn't good enough for our staff, fans and visitors too. Consequently red meat is now off the menu at Forest Green Rovers."
However, millionaire Mr Vince stressed that it was not a ban on red meat, adding: "We're simply saying we won't any longer provide red meat at the club. We've taken it off the menu. This is a part of a bigger picture move - it's about improving the quality of food at Forest Green Rovers, about providing better quality, healthy food all round.
"The club will still have poultry and fish on its menu, as well as vegetarian food. However the poultry will be free range and the fish from sustainable stocks - in a further step in the right direction."
He added: "At its worst it means once every two weeks watching a football game without being able to eat red meat. However there is no ban, so anybody that really, really needs it can bring a ham sandwich or something if they wish - that's no problem."
There were divided opinions on a Forest Green Rovers fans forum, with one supporter writing: "Are we allowed to wear leather shoes, leather coats or even worse sheepskin coats when attending matches in future? The world is going mad."
Another said: "I was planning to take the family up Sunday to try the recently advertised carvery. However, as a man who likes his roast beef and lamb I think I will be going elsewhere. Salmon does not really rock my boat. As others have already commented, I shall make sure me and my lad are fed before home games as I cannot see him eating veggie burgers."