Club Doncaster reveal target for Doncaster Rovers Belles

Club Doncaster have revealed their target for Doncaster Rovers Belles – but have not specified a time-frame.

Monday, 4th November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 4th November 2019, 6:00 am
Doncaster Rovers Belles. Photo: Howard Roe

Gavin Baldwin, Club Doncaster’s chief executive, told the Free Press the aim is to get the Belles into the FA Women’s Championship.

The Belles were crowned FAWSL2 champions last year but were then forced to withdraw from the newly-named second tier for financial reasons after their major sponsor pulled out.

A young and inexperienced team were subsequently relegated from the FAWNL Northern Premier Division.

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Club Doncaster completed their protracted takeover of the Belles last summer.

Zoey Shaw’s side are currently third bottom in FAWNL Division One Midlands, the fourth tier, and the immediate priority is to prevent a third successive drop.

The rate of Belles’ downward spiral and the gulf between the Championship and FAWNL would suggest that Club Doncaster have got their work cut out achieving their objective any time soon.

“Russ [Green - Belles CEO] has got all sorts of plans to increase the fan base, increase the sponsorship and use education to recruit girls further afield than Doncaster,” said Baldwin.

“It’s almost a case of bottoming out this year and then everything we do is all about improving our chances for next year.

“We’d like to get them back into the equivalent second division [FA Women’s Championship]. We think that is reasonable and attainable.

“We’ve shared information with clubs such as Burnley to help each other out and we know what it would take to get into the equivalent second division. It is realistic and that is the target we are setting.”

Belles return to action on Sunday against Bedworth United at Rossington Main.