'It's been a lot harder work than we expected' - Gavin Baldwin discusses first few months of Doncaster Rovers Belles ownership
Club Doncaster supremo Gavin Baldwin admits that taking over the running of Doncaster Rovers Belles has been a ‘steep learning curve’.
The Belles have struggled to stop the rot on the field after being relegated from the FAWNL Northern Premier Division last season.
Zoey Shaw’s young side currently sit third bottom of FAWNL Division One Midlands – the fourth tier of the women’s game.
Club Doncaster completed a protracted takeover of the Belles in the summer and it had been hoped they could challenge for promotion this term.
“When we took them over we obviously wanted promotion,” said Baldwin. “It’s been hard work.
“They did extremely well at the Belles last year to keep it going, with them losing significant sponsors.
“After taking it over it has taken months to get the club on a stable footing and to recruit a team that will be competitive.
“It’s probably been a lot harder work than we expected just behind the scenes, with the RTC (Regional Training Centre), with the first team, and with players leaving at the end of last year.
“Russ [Green – Belles chief executive] is bringing all his experience of working at Hartlepool and Rochdale to get a team together that is competitive, an infra-structure that supports that team behind the scenes and also a financial model that means we can grow the Belles and aim for the promotion that everyone wants.
“The ambition is clearly promotion. Results obviously show that it might not be this year but with the contacts that we have in the game we’re already talking about bringing players in for next year should we need to that will give us the edge.
“It’s almost about learning the league at the moment,” he added.
“We’re playing against teams we’ve never played before. There’s teams like Wolves in there who appear to be throwing themselves into it.
“It has been a steep learning curve. We think that we’re about there now.
“We’re now focused entirely on getting a team together on the field that will do well but there has been a lot of work to get it to this stage.”