England legend Gary Lineker joins Doncaster Rovers aces in helping to fund knee operation for Belles skipper

England legend and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker has provided a huge donation to help Doncaster Rovers Belles skipper Sophie Scargill reach a fundraising target for a career-saving knee operation.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 6:58 pm
Gary Lineker

Scargill was facing the possibility of having to hang up her boots after rupturing her knee ligaments and being told surgery through the NHS could come with a waiting time of several years.

The 26-year-old set up a JustGiving page to raise the £5,000 she requires to fund private medical care in order to have a chance of returning to action.

Rovers players and staff past and present including James Coppinger, Reece James, Ben Whiteman, Noel Hunt, Matty Blair and Gary McSheffrey all have made donations, alongside former Belles player Sue Smith.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sophie Scargill

Those donations, along with plenty from supporters, helped Scargill raise £2,000 in just a couple of days.

But she has now soared past her target thanks to a £3,000 contribution from Lineker, who wrote on the JustGiving page: “I see you need another £3000. It’s my pleasure to help. Hope you’re back playing soon.”

It is understood Club Doncaster, which owns and operates both Rovers and the Belles and for whom Scargill works, had offered to loan the £5,000 on an interest-free basis but she opted to attempt to raise the funds herself.

Writing on her JustGiving page, Scargill said: “My life is sport and exercise. I use exercise to deal with every emotion and since I live on my own, it consumes my life.

"In September 2021, I turned my world upside down when I completely ruptured my lateral meniscus and caused severe trauma to the main ligaments in my knee while playing football.

"This now means I can hardly walk, let alone play and my independence and purpose has been stripped from me.”


In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.