3:42pm Monday 21st October 2013
By Ashley Loveridge
FOREST Green chairman Dale Vince is expected to consult former Manchester United and England star Gary Neville in his search to find a new boss after David Hockaday left the New Lawn by mutual consent on Monday.
Vince has built up a strong rapport with the current England coach through their Sustanability in Sport initiative and a stellar name in the game is understood to be favourite to take over the New Lawn hot-seat.
The Skrill Premier side were among the early season promotion favourites after the arrival of marquee signings Andy Mangan, Anthony Barry, Danny Wright and Matthew Barnes-Homer -thanks to the investment from green energy entrepreneur Vince.
Hockaday remained defiant after Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Grimsby Town and insisted he was up for the challenge despite presiding over a seventh defeat in eight games to see his side hovering just four points off the relegation zone.
However, a meeting with Vince on Monday morning saw the two friends decide to go their separate ways.
Vince said: "I'd like to thank David, personally and on behalf of the whole club - for all he has done in his time here.
"A lot of the changes David has brought are not as readily visible as a scoreline and are less immediate in their impact - but they are vital to the long term success of the club.
"David has been a key player in the transformation of FGR and I wish him all the very best in his next role."
Hockaday felt the time was right for him to move on.
He said: "Football is a results-driven business and recently results haven't been good enough.
"I feel I have left the club, both on and off the field, in the best shape it has ever been.
"I am proud of what I've achieved here and feel the time is right to move on.
"I wish everyone at the club the very best - Forest Green Rovers will always have a place in my heart."
The 55-year-old former Watford and Southampton Academy boss joined Rovers In September 2009 in his first ever first team managerial position.
Hockaday led Rovers to the third round of the FA Cup where Rovers were knocked out by League Two outfit Notts County. His first season as manager ended with relegation from the Conference National.
However, Forest Green were re-instated following Salisbury City's failure in their appeal against demotion from the Conference for financial irregularities. Hockaday was awarded a new one-year contract for the 2010–11 season.
In his second season as Forest Green boss, Hockaday led the club to last day safety on goal difference, avoiding relegation to the Conference South following a final day 2–1 loss away at Tamworth.
In Hockaday's third season he led the club to a much improved 10th placed finish.
In February 2013, Hockaday was linked for the second time in his career with the managerial post at former club Swindon Town after the departure of Paolo Di Canio. However, Hockaday ruled himself out of the running for the job.
His fourth season as manager of the club ended with another 10th place finish in the Conference National.
Assistant Gary Seward will take charge of the team as interim manager for the FA Cup fourth qualifying round clash at home to Skrill South outfit Bishop’s Storford. Seward will be supported by Academy manager Scott Bartlett, coach Kevin Phillips and physio Tim Grigg.
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