Doncaster Rovers Belles L.F.C.

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Doncaster Rovers Belles
Doncaster Rovers Belles logo.png
Full nameDoncaster Rovers Belles
Ladies Football Club
Nickname(s)The Belles
Donny Belles
Founded1969; 53 years ago (1969)
(as Belle Vue Belles)
GroundRossington Main F. C.
Rossington
Capacity2,000
PresidentSheila Edmunds
Chief executiveRuss Green
ManagerAndy Butler
LeagueFA Women's National League Division One Midlands
2021–22FA Women's National League Division One Midlands, 2nd of 12
WebsiteClub website

Doncaster Rovers Belles Ladies Football Club, previously Doncaster Belles, is an English women's football club that currently plays in the FA Women's National League Division One Midlands, the fourth tier of women's football in England. The club's administration is based at the Eco Power Stadium (formerly Keepmoat Stadium)[1] in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, while home matches are played at nearby Rossington Main F.C.

They are one of English women's football's most famous and successful clubs, being one of only three non-London teams to have won the FA Women's Premier League National Division, in 1992 and 1994. Founded in 1969 by lottery ticket sellers at Belle Vue, home of Doncaster Rovers Football Club, they have also won the FA Women's Cup six times and reached the final on a further seven occasions. They are currently managed by former Doncaster Rovers defender Andy Butler, assisted by Nick Buxton.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

The club was founded as the Belle Vue Belles in 1969, by Sheila Stocks and other women who sold 'Golden Goals' lottery tickets during Doncaster Rovers home games at Belle Vue.[2] After finding success in informal local competition, the club became Doncaster Belles in 1971[3] and joined the Sheffield League in 1972. With the demise of the Sheffield League after three seasons, the Belles joined the Nottinghamshire League setup and dominated for over a decade.[4] Following a reorganisation in 1989, the club won the new North East League in both seasons of its existence, before being invited to join the inaugural eight-team National Division in 1991.[5]

Stocks played for the club for 25 years, retiring aged 41 after the victorious 1994 Women's FA Cup final.[6] She later served as physiotherapist and club welfare officer.[7] A teacher by trade, she married future Belles manager Paul Edmunds who worked at the same school.[8] In 2008 she was awarded the FA Special Achievement Award, and received the Doctor of Business of Administration from BPP University following her services to women in sport. She currently serves as the club's president and General Manager.[9]

National dominance[edit]

The official programme from a home game against Red Star Southampton on 11 April 1993

The club reached the Women's FA Cup final for the first time in 1983, defeating St Helens 3–2[4] at Sincil Bank in Lincoln. The Belles then lost the next three successive finals; to Howbury Grange (2–4), Friends of Fulham (0–2) and Norwich (3–4).[10] In May 1987 the club recaptured the trophy, beating St Helens 2–0 at the City Ground in Nottingham. Doncaster Belles retained the Cup in 1987–88 by defeating Merseyside team Leasowe Pacific 3–1. But they missed out on the following year's final, as a resurgent Leasowe inflicted a 3–2 defeat on Friends of Fulham at Old Trafford, in front of Channel 4 television cameras.[11] In 1990 the Belles were back in the final, Gillian Coultard scoring the only goal as Friends of Fulham were beaten at the Baseball Ground in Derby. 1991's final saw the club lose out 1–0 to Millwall Lionesses at Prenton Park.[12]

That summer the Women's Football Association invited the club to affiliate to a new, eight-team National Premier Division. England strikers Karen Walker and Gail Borman scored a combined total of more than 50 goals as the Belles won the inaugural 1991–92 championship with a 100% record.[13] Red Star Southampton were vanquished 4–0 in the WFA Cup final as the club won a League and Cup double. Walker set a record in scoring a hat-trick in every round of the Cup, including the final.[14]

The following season's League was expanded to 10 teams, and in March 1993 newly promoted Arsenal inflicted only the Belles' second league defeat in 15 years, 2–1, before a crowd of 18,196 at Highbury.[15] The dropped points, coupled with a shock defeat to Wimbledon, meant that Arsenal captured the National Premier Division title.[16] The following month Arsenal confirmed their dominance by beating Doncaster Belles 3–0 in the WFA Cup final.[17]

In 1993–94 another costly defeat to Arsenal left the Belles needing three wins from their last four games to win the League.[8] This was achieved and the club regained the Premier Division title by four points from second-placed Arsenal.[18] The Belles also relieved Arsenal of the Cup after reaching their 11th Cup final in 12 years—the first to be played under the direct control of The Football Association. Karen Walker's header from a Joanne Broadhurst corner defeated Knowsley United 1–0 at Glanford Park in Scunthorpe.[19] The club was denied the chance of an historic treble, when the season overran and the Premier League Cup final against Arsenal was held over until the following campaign.[20]

Later years[edit]

After the Belles' second double in three years, long-serving manager Paul Edmunds considered retirement. He was persuaded to stay when three of the club's top players left for Knowsley United, who had reconstituted as Liverpool Ladies.[21] Edmunds drafted in youngsters Claire Utley from the youth team and Vicky Exley from Sheffield Wednesday, but injuries to key players[22] saw the team limp to a third-place finish in the Premier Division.[23] In summer 1995 Edmunds stood down to be replaced by Mel Woodhall.[24] A fixture backlog at the end of season 1995–96 saw Croydon playing five games in ten days, winning four and drawing one to erode the Belles' 13-point lead[25] and win the National Premier Division on goal difference.[26] In March 1996 the Belles played Wembley in the Premier League Cup final. They conceded an injury-time penalty kick to draw 2–2 and then lost the penalty shootout.[27]

In 1997 manager Julie Chipchase ascribed the loss of the Belles' pre-eminent status to a rise in the standards of other teams. In 1996–97 the club had been knocked out of both Cups by eventual winners Millwall Lionesses, and finished second in the League to Arsenal.[28] The next two seasons saw third-placed finishes for the Belles, while 1999–00 resulted in another FA Women's Cup final appearance when holders Arsenal were beaten in the semi-final.[29] The final at Bramall Lane ended in a controversial 2–1 loss to Croydon, after Karen Walker had a penalty saved by Pauline Cope and Croydon scored a disputed winning goal.[30] Five days later Croydon became the first club to retain the National Premier Division title. A 6–0 win over Aston Villa ensured a finish one point ahead of the second-placed Belles.[31]

The next season began with an extensive recruitment drive; as England internationals Becky Easton and Karen Burke arrived from Everton and former stalwart Joanne Broadhurst rejoined the club from Croydon. When Croydon were taken over by Charlton Athletic, their veteran player-manager Debbie Bampton resigned and moved to the Belles in a playing capacity.[32] Although they had finished as runners-up to Croydon in both league and cup, the club were overlooked for a place in the inaugural Charity Shield match. An article in The Guardian described the selection of Charlton Athletic and Arsenal as curious and related to unspecified "commercial reasons".[33] The 2000–01 National Premier Division campaign saw the Belles return to top form, maintaining a 100% record until April, when a 1–0 home defeat to Arsenal handed the initiative to their southern rivals.[34] Arsenal also knocked the Belles out of both cup competitions on their way to a domestic treble. In May 2001 a presentation marked the retirement of club captain Gillian Coultard.[35]

Doncaster Belles did receive an invitation to the 2001–02 Charity Shield, where they were beaten 5–2 by Arsenal at Kingsmeadow.[36] Goalkeeper Leanne Hall conceded a penalty, after her challenge on Clare Wheatley left the Arsenal player with a career-ending knee injury. Two weeks later at the teams' next meeting both sides lined up in tribute and Hall presented Wheatley with a bouquet of flowers. The match finished in a 4–1 defeat for the Belles.[37] In the 2001–02 National Division Doncaster Belles finished as runners-up for the third season in succession, although in April 2002 they had "stunningly" inflicted a 4–0 defeat on Arsenal, the eventual champions' first league defeat in over two and a half years.[38] In the Premier League Cup they suffered a shock semi final defeat to Birmingham City, collapsing from 3–1 ahead to lose 4–3 to the Northern Division leaders.[39] The Belles knocked holders Arsenal out of the Women's FA Cup in the quarter finals, ending a run of six successive defeats—stretching back almost two years—against their old rivals. The BBC reported that the final whistle was "joyously celebrated"[40] by the Doncaster Belles players. In the 2002 FA Women's Cup Final Doncaster Belles lost 2–1 to full-time professional Fulham before a crowd of 10,000 at Selhurst Park and a live television audience of two and a half million.[41]

During the 2002 summer break Doncaster Belles turned semi–professional[42] after securing a major sponsorship deal with Green Flag.[43] In February 2016, eight players signed as full-time players for the first time in the club's history: Emily Simpkins, Rhiannon Roberts, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, Natasha Dowie, Becky Easton, Katrin Omarsdottir, Kasia Lipka and Carla Humphrey.[44]

Merger with Doncaster Rovers[edit]

The Football Association had promised to create a professional women's league in 2003 and wanted clubs to merge with professional male counterparts as part of that strategy.[26] In order to keep up with rivals who were already backed by men's clubs, the Belles were increasingly keen on finding their own link-up.[45] A merger with Doncaster Rovers was considered at a meeting between representatives of both clubs on 3 April 2002, followed by EGMs five days later.[46] In January 2003, Belles chairman John Gomersall met with the FA women's committee to discuss the merger.[45] Rovers' existing women's team rejected the proposal by 77 votes to one at their AGM in March 2003.[26] Nevertheless, in July 2003 the Doncaster Belles website announced the merger's completion. Under the terms of the agreement, the Belles would retain their financial and strategic independence. They also secured agreements to play a portion of home games at Belle Vue, to use the male club's Cantley Park training facility and to sell merchandise in Rovers' club shop.[47] As a result, the Doncaster Belles, often described as "the most recognisable team name in the women's game",[48] became Doncaster Rovers Belles. In 2011 Doncaster Rovers Belles was reconstituted as a Community Interest Company and today is run independently of Doncaster Rovers.[49]

John Buckley era[edit]

Doncaster Rovers Belles playing at Keepmoat Stadium in the FA WSL

In the 2008–09 season, they finished fourth in the league. On 26 February 2009, the team played in the final of the Women's FA Premier League Cup but lost 5–0 to Arsenal Ladies.

The club was one of eight founding teams in the FA WSL in April 2011.[50]

In May 2012 the Belles agreed a three-year, six-figure sponsorship deal with Innovation Financial Services, a Bawtry–based company owned by ex-footballer Hugh McAuley & Doncaster businessman Stewart Groves. John Buckley explained that the sponsorship, the largest in the club's history, would allow the club to compete on a more equal footing with their WSL rivals.[51] That deal collapsed in 2013 with Innovation Financial Services ceasing to trade. Buckley left the club at the end of the 2013 season.[52]

Demotion[edit]

In April 2013 the Football Association announced that, as part of an FA WSL restructure and expansion, Manchester City would replace Doncaster Rovers Belles in the top tier in 2014. The Belles were placed in a new ten team FA WSL 2.[53] Buckley described the situation as "the most farcical thing I've ever heard," while vice-chairman Alan Smart publicly ridiculed the FA for relegating the club after one league match, rendering the 2013 season meaningless.[54]

The club appealed the decision and had the support of rival clubs. Arsenal Ladies' Vic Akers described the governing body's actions as "morally scandalous."[55] At the televised 2013 FA Women's Cup final between Arsenal and Bristol Academy at Keepmoat Stadium, stewards disrupted a protest outside the ground, seizing a banner, flyers, petition and bells on the orders of the FA.[56] In 2015 the new management of the Doncaster Rovers Belles described the FA's decision as having saved the club in retrospect, as the club faced administration due to mounting debts, reduced income from the FA and was saved by a group of local business people.[57]

Gordon Staniforth era[edit]

In November 2013 Gordon Staniforth was appointed Head Coach of the Belles[58] under a new 10-year strategy aiming to take the Belles back to the top of the women's game. In season 2014 the Belles narrowly missed out on immediate promotion to the first tier of the FAWSL and Staniforth resigned at the end of the season.[59] Staniforth cited budget restrictions as the reason why he could not continue in the role.[60]

Glen Harris era[edit]

In December 2014, former Lincoln Ladies manager, Glen Harris, was appointed Head Coach of the Doncaster Rovers Belles.[61] In 2015 the team finished as runners-up again, the time behind Reading, but promotion was secured due to expansion of the top division. The club announced investment plans in October 2015, code named "Project Phoenix", which encompassed a switch to full-time professionalism and the building of a new training ground in Bawtry.[62] Emily Simpkins signed a contract to become the club's first ever full-time player in November 2015.[63] Harris was later released from his role as Head Coach and Emma Coates took over the managerial reins becoming the youngest manager in FA WSL 1 at the age of 25.

Neil Redfearn era[edit]

Under Emma Coates' management, the Belles came second in the FA WSL Spring Series, a competition devised to bridge the gap between the 2016 summer season and the switch back to a winter season for 2017–18. Coates left the club in October 2017 to take a position working with England's youth side,[64] and after a spell under Kate Rowson, the club appointed Neil Redfearn as head coach in December 2017.[65] On 13 May 2018, the Belles won FA WSL 2, the Belles' first trophy since 1994.[66] However, the club played in the third tier English women's football for the 2018–19 season, having decided not to apply for the restructured top two tiers for financial reasons.[67][68][69]

Andy Butler era[edit]

Doncaster-born ex Doncaster Rovers captain Andy Butler was appointed manager on 16 January 2020.[70]

Colours and crest[edit]

Crest from the Doncaster Belles era pre-2003
Doncaster Belles' original home colours

The club's traditional colours are yellow and blue.[71] This was originally chosen in homage to the legendary Brazilian national team that won the 1970 FIFA World Cup.[72] Following the link-up with Doncaster Rovers in 2003, the team wore Rovers' red and white hooped shirts with black shorts. They reverted to yellow and blue in 2014.

In 2019 the Belles renewed their links with Rovers under the auspices of 'Club Doncaster' and reinstated a red and white home kit.[73] President Sheila Edmunds recalled that the club's first ever kit had been red and white, and stated: "My passion has always been the yellow and blue because there’s history behind that but as long as we have both colours in our home and away kit then I’m happy with that."[74]

Rivalries[edit]

Doncaster Rovers Belles enjoy a longstanding rivalry with Arsenal Ladies who eventually overtook the Belles as the leading club in English women's football.[75] In 1994, the Belles' manager Paul Edmunds contrasted the northern, working class background of his players with the contrasting identity of the Arsenal team: "These soft Cockneys never done a hard day's work in their life. Never been down the pit, this lot [...]",[22] despite women rarely, if ever, working down pits. Stressing the relative loyalty of Doncaster Belles' players, in comparison to those of other leading clubs, long-serving Karen Walker said in May 2003: "There's a feeling here that we are representing the north."[76]

During the 2000s Doncaster Rovers Belles contested regular local derby fixtures with Leeds United Ladies. The rivalry was increased by several former Belles players defecting to Leeds.[77] However, the 2010 failure of Leeds' WSL bid left Doncaster Rovers Belles as the only Yorkshire club playing at the top level.[78]

After being relegated to the FAWNL National Division One Midlands, Lincoln City F.C. Women became the closest rivals for that division.

Stadium[edit]

After withdrawing their application for the FA Women's Championship, Doncaster Rovers Belles announced in August 2018 that they would play their home 2018–19 FA Women's National League matches at Rossington Main FC's Oxford Street ground, and have continued for the 2021–22 season.[79]

Current home of Doncaster Rovers Belles – Oxford Street, Rossington

Between 2007 and 2018 the home of Doncaster Rovers Belles was the Keepmoat Stadium, although the majority of the team's matches prior to 2011 were played at the 500-capacity athletics track beside the stadium.[80] In January 2007 the club's first match in the 15,000-capacity main stadium resulted in a 5–2 defeat to Leeds United, before a crowd of 1,797.[75] Doncaster Rovers Belles played all their home fixtures in the FA Women's Super League inside the main arena.[81]

When the English women's football setup was nationalised in 1991, the Belles became the first team to play their home games in a professional Football League ground at Belle Vue. However, they were often barred from doing so by Doncaster Rovers F.C. and had to find local non-League grounds in order to fulfil their fixtures.

In November 1997 long-serving secretary Alan Burton told The Times that after their spell at Belle Vue, the Belles had "left suddenly, under a bit of a cloud." At that stage there was no connection at all between the Belles and Doncaster Rovers. The women's club were annoyed that Rovers had kept postponing Belles matches at short notice, ostensibly in order to save the Belle Vue pitch. According to Burton this caused the Belles a substantial loss of fan support.[82]

Former home of Doncaster Rovers Belles – the Keepmoat Stadium

For many years the team played at the Welfare Ground (53°32′04″N 1°03′24″W / 53.53444°N 1.05667°W / 53.53444; -1.05667 (Welfare Ground)), home of Armthorpe Welfare F.C.,[83][28] and in 2002 were playing at Brodsworth Welfare Ground (53°33′46″N 1°11′17″W / 53.56278°N 1.18806°W / 53.56278; -1.18806 (Brodsworth Welfare Ground)), home of Brodsworth Welfare F.C.[84] The 1999–00 season was spent playing at Hatfield Main F.C.'s Broadway ground.[85]

In 1999 the club announced proposals for a purpose-built stadium at Toll Bar.[86] The following year Doncaster Council granted the club a lease of some land in the area.[87] The £1.6 million project was intended for the FA's launch of a professional women's League in 2003.[32]

In popular culture[edit]

A BBC television documentary screened in January 1995, called The Belles, featured the squad winning and then celebrating their double win the previous Spring.[88] However, the 'work hard, play hard' ethos revealed in the film did not find universal favour and the club was censured by the FA. Team captain Gillian Coultard felt the film led to her being controversially stripped of the England captaincy in the run-up to the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup.

The following year a book entitled I Lost My Heart To The Belles told the story of the club's 1994–95 campaign through the eyes of journalist and author Pete Davies.[3] In April 2000 the Doncaster Rovers Belles squad released the first ever FA Women's Cup final song, entitled "Northern Pride".[89]

In 1998 the BBC television drama series Playing the Field began. Directly inspired by Doncaster Rovers Belles,[90] it was written by Kay Mellor, starred James Nesbitt and Ricky Tomlinson, and ran for five series' until 2002.

In 2008 Doncaster Rovers Belles defender Natasha Hughes embarked on a modelling career.[91]

Players[edit]

As of 10 February 2022.[92]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK England ENG Eleanor Sharpe
2 DF England ENG Sophie Bell
3 MF England ENG Izzy Trevillion
4 MF England ENG Emily Cahill
5 DF England ENG Freya Rattenbury
6 DF England ENG Charlotte Dinsdale
7 FW England ENG Nadia Khan
8 MF England ENG Jess Andrew (captain)
9 FW England ENG Jasmine Saxton
10 MF England ENG Hannah McWilliams
11 MF England ENG Lindsey Tugby
12 DF England ENG Lily Wishart
No. Pos. Nation Player
14 DF England ENG Chloe Dean
15 FW England ENG Lily Harrison
16 DF England ENG Becca Sausby
17 DF England ENG Niamh Doody
18 DF England ENG Jenna McGee
19 FW England ENG Sophie Brown
20 MF England ENG Phoebe Sneddon
22 FW England ENG Jess Price
23 MF England ENG Lauren Breen
26 MF England ENG Sophie Scargill

Former players[edit]

English Football Hall of Fame[edit]

The following have played for Doncaster Rovers Belles and have been inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame :

Players

Last updated: 18 January 2020.
Source: list of NFM Hall of Fame inductees

Managers[edit]

In June 2003 former Celtic, Leeds United and Doncaster Rovers footballer John Buckley took over as manager.[93]

On 6 November 2013 Gordon Staniforth was announced as the club's new head coach. He was to work under director of football and former manager Julie Chipchase, who led "a rigorous interview and practical coaching" application process.[94] Enraged at cuts to the club's playing budget, headstrong Staniforth quit after only one season.[95] Mild-mannered former Lincoln Ladies boss Glen Harris was unveiled as his replacement in December 2014.[96]

Current board and coaching staff[edit]

[97]

Job title
England Russ Green Chief Executive
England Sheila Edmunds Club President
England Andy Butler Manager
England Nick Buxton First Team Coach
England Richard Cooper Coach
England Kay Humberstone Physio
England Chantelle Haigh RTC Centre Manager
England Amanda Greenslade RTC Technical Director

Honours[edit]

Doncaster Rovers Belles won two of the first three National Division titles in 1992 and 1994. They have also finished as runners-up on seven further occasions; in 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003.

The FA Women's Cup has been won six times, during a period of dominance which saw the Belles reach eleven out of twelve Cup finals from 1983 to 1994. Doncaster Rovers Belles also reached the finals in 2000 and 2002, but lost out to Croydon and Fulham, respectively. Their record in the competition is behind that of Arsenal Ladies, who have 13 wins in total, and Southampton, who were victorious eight times in the early years of the competition.[10]

The club has been less successful in the FA Women's Premier League Cup, reaching the final three times. A loss on penalties to Wembley in 1996 came between two heavy defeats to Arsenal in 1994 and 2009.

Doncaster Rovers Belles also competed for the FA Women's Community Shield in 2001 and 2003, but were beaten by Arsenal and then Fulham.

Domestic[edit]

League[edit]

Cups[edit]

Doubles[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Up until 1991, there was no top national division of English women's football; from then, until the formation of the FA WSL in 2010, it was the FA Women's Premier League National Division. The FA only took over the direct running of the domestic league structure from the WFA in 1993.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Keepmoat name goes as Rovers sign record re-naming deal". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  2. ^ Hayley Paterson (19 February 2009). "Belles hit their stride again at 40". Doncaster Free Press. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Club history". Doncaster Rovers Belles. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Doncaster Rovers Belles FC – History". Football-England.com. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  5. ^ Davies 1996, p. 19
  6. ^ Davies 1996, p. 22
  7. ^ "Torch Trophy Trust Awards Recipients". Torch Trophy Trust. Archived from the original on 28 March 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  8. ^ a b Pete Davies (23 May 1994). "Football: Belles face tough run-in: The women's National Premier League is being fought to a tight finish. Pete Davies reports". The Independent. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  9. ^ "Winners revealed". TheFA.com. 23 May 2008. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
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  11. ^ "Women want cup run". Everton FC. 2 January 2004. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
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  13. ^ "1991–1992". The Owl Football Historian. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  14. ^ Galvin, Robert. "Karen Walker". National Football Museum. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
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  16. ^ "1992–1993". The Owl Football Historian. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
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  18. ^ "1993–1994". The Owl Football Historian. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  19. ^ Rudd, Alyson (25 April 1994). "Football: Belles bring class to bear: Doncaster dominate women's FA Cup final". The Independent. London. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
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  30. ^ Sarah Hughes (2 May 2000). "Hunt keeps Croydon on double track". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  31. ^ Colin Aldis (25 March 2000). "The 'Belles' break record of Final appearances". Women's Soccer World. Archived from the original on 27 August 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  32. ^ a b Sue Thearle (19 January 2001). "Belles back in business". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  33. ^ Vivek Choudary (5 August 2000). "To be or not to be an Addick". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
  34. ^ Tony Leighton (15 April 2001). "Arsenal strike title blow". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  35. ^ Tony Leighton (20 May 2001). "Coulthard bows out as season ends". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  36. ^ Tony Leighton (11 August 2001). "Arsenal Ladies 5–2 Doncaster". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  37. ^ Tony Leighton (26 August 2001). "Arsenal see off Belles again". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
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  39. ^ Tony Leighton (13 January 2002). "Birmingham shock Doncaster". BBC. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
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  46. ^ "Belles and Rovers finish level". Doncaster Free Press. 27 March 2002. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  47. ^ "The Rovers/Belles merger". DoncasterRovers.co.uk. 11 July 2003. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  48. ^ Cocozza, Paula (14 April 2003). "Women's Football". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  49. ^ "Relegation saved Belles from folding". BBC Sport.
  50. ^ "Lincoln Ladies FA Women's Super League bid success". BBC. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
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  53. ^ Leighton, Tony (26 April 2013). "Manchester City to compete in WSL top tier after restructure". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
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  62. ^ "Doncaster Rovers Belles to go full-time with new training ground". BBC Sport. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  63. ^ Ellis, Adam (7 December 2015). "Simpkins first Belle to commit full-time". The League Paper. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  64. ^ "Doncaster Rovers Belles: Boss Emma Coates to leave for England job". Doncaster Free Press. 29 September 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  65. ^ "NEW: Belles appoint new manager". Doncaster Rovers Belles. 29 December 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  66. ^ "Brilliant Belles celebrate title win with three points". FA WSL. 13 May 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°28′53.03″N 1°04′25.91″W / 53.4813972°N 1.0738639°W / 53.4813972; -1.0738639