Ian Burchnall: Forest Green Rovers name Notts County boss as head coach
Newly promoted Forest Green Rovers have appointed Notts County boss Ian Burchnall as their new head coach.
The 39-year-old takes charge of the Gloucestershire club as they move up to League One for the first time.
He replaces Rob Edwards, who led the club to promotion and the League Two title before being appointed Watford manager earlier this month.
Burchnall had been at Notts County since March 2021 and led the team to fifth in the National League this year.
This season was the second successive time he had taken Notts County to the National League play-offs, although they were defeated by Torquay United in the semi-finals last year and by Grimsby Town at the same stage this season.
“I’m really delighted to sign at FGR and be part of what is an exciting chapter in the club’s history,” Burchnall said.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to come and lead the club and the challenge of football in League One was just too good to turn down, especially at a progressive and forward-thinking club.”
Burchnall got his first taste as a manager working in Scandinavia’s top tiers, first as assistant manager to former Sheffield United striker Brian Deane at Norwegian side Sarpsborg in 2012.
In 2017 he took over as manager at Viking FC, before replacing Graham Potter as boss of Swedish side Ostersunds FK a year later.
“We’re all excited to welcome Ian to the club and look forward to our first season together in League One,” said Dale Vince, Forest Green Rovers chairman.
When former Rovers boss Edwards left for relegated Premier League side Watford on 11 May, Vince said negotiations had taken place “behind our backs” – but he praised Notts County for their part in Burchnall’s move.
“Big credit to Notts County for the way they handled this – between us we’ve shown how moves in football can still get done properly and above board.”
A statement from the Notts County board said they already have a “ready-made shortlist” of candidates to replace Burchnall and that “negotiations are progressing well”.
Paul Furley, BBC Radio Gloucestershire
It’s taken 16 days from Rob Edwards leaving unexpectedly to appointing a new head coach for Forest Green. Rovers identified Burchnall early, but were then determined to do things the right way, waiting until Notts County’s season was over before approaching the game’s oldest professional club.
The new man has not come via the conventional route into management and coaching via university and Scandinavia, but that could be a strength joining a club who also like to do things differently, so his appointment fits with the Forest Green ethos.
Burchnall’s Notts County had a reputation for playing good football, which should suit the existing players at the New Lawn. They key will be keeping those under offer and recruiting those also capable of performing in League One.
This is an appointment the bookies correctly predicted and Burchnall will hardly be a surprise to supporters, but after the manner of Edwards’ exit there may initially be an element of once bitten, twice shy in terms of adulation of the new gaffer.
But a couple of early wins would soon sort that out.