Alan Smart resigned as Belles chairman but will remain at the club as a consultant, we can reveal.
The Belles confirmed yesterday that Smart had stepped down from his vice-chairman role three years after first joining the pioneering women’s club.
Smart was working as the chairman until the Belles brought in a new board of directors last August. He then became vice-chairman.
Ex-military man Smart was at the forefront of the Belles’ appeal bids to overturn their FA ‘relegation’ following a controversial application process. However, the bids failed, condemning the Belles to demotion from the top flight for the first time in 22 years.
A Belles club statement read: “Alan has been the lifeblood of the club since joining in 2011 and has risen to every challenge set before him as he has kept the club afloat during some traumatic times.
“Alan worked tirelessly to keep the Belles moving forward sustainably in difficult times and although he will continue working with the club in a consultancy role, he feels that it is the right time to hand over to someone new who will take up the reins and push the club forward.
“The club would like to thank Alan for his dedication, commitment and enthusiasm over the past three years and hope that he will play a part in the club’s future history.
“He has a vast knowledge of the club, its heritage and of what is needed to survive at the highest level in the Women’s game and we hope he will continue to help the club for many years to come.”
Long-serving manager John Buckley exited the club in September.