DALE VINCE says Forest Green Rovers will win the National League next season after losing in Sunday’s promotion final to Grimsby Town.
Rovers, who finished second in the league before defeating Dover in the play-off semi-finals, came up short at Wembley as the Mariners ended their six-year exile from the Football League.
Two goals in two minutes at the end of the first half – via a Darren Carter own goal and Omar Bogle – but Grimsby in control.
Keanu Marsh-Brown’s wonderful swirling effort on the hour mark gave Rovers hope but Nathan Arnold made sure of the result, netting Grimsby’s third in stoppage time.
Despite missing out on promotion to the Football League for the first time in the club’s history, owner Vince was in philosophical mood after the game.
“It was a great day, it was our first time in a Wembley play-off final, we had good support and it was great for the club,” he said.
“I thought we played well but two soft goals made it very hard for us. I’m happy that we’ve made great progress as a club.
“From tenth to fifth to second to a Wembley final so we’ll take that into next season and we’ll win the league, as simple as that.
“Keanu scored a wonderful goal but the last ten minutes were bitty. I thought the whole team played really well and the 3-1 scoreline flattered Grimsby.”
Rovers will head into next season with Mark Cooper as manager after Vince dismissed Ady Pennock just a week before the start of the play-offs.
And veteran midfielder Carter says the club will come again as they look to better their second-place finish and earn automatic promotion next term
The former Birmingham City man said: “It hurts. It hurts deep. We feel like we have got unfinished business now.
“We feel we should have finished in top spot – that went. Then we just couldn’t quite get over the hurdle (at Wembley).
“The raw emotion of it at the moment is complete frustration. You feel like you’ve let the fans down. But we’ll come again.”
In the wake of Sunday’s defeat, Rovers have released club captain David Pipe, James Jennings, Clovis Kamdjo, Delano Sam-Yorke, Brett Williams, Lenny Pidgeley and Dale Eve.
Aarran Racine, Steve Arnold, Dale Bennett, Sam Wedgbury, Marcus Kelly and Carter, meanwhile, have all been offered new deals.