Postman Andy Butler out to deliver success with Doncaster Rovers Belles

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Father, footballer, first-team manager, adjudicator and postman are just some of the titles Andy Butler holds throughout each week.

Rovers’ former club captain turned interim boss is a busy man to say the least.

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“There’s not enough hours in the day at the moment,” he admits during a brief moment not spent on the go.

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Doncaster Rovers Belles manager Andy ButlerDoncaster Rovers Belles manager Andy Butler
Doncaster Rovers Belles manager Andy Butler

"I work then do five-a-side on a Monday night with friends, train on a Tuesday night with Farsley (Celtic, Butler’s new club who play in the National League North), coach Belles on a Thursday and see my kids on a Wednesday and Friday.

"Plus you have got to get gym sessions in.”

On top of those commitments, Butler has just been accepted onto the Football Association’s Judicial Panel who review disciplinary matters such as red cards and cases of mistaken identity.

"It’s another job,” he adds, “people don’t realise as soon as you finish football no one pays your mortgage apart from yourself.”

Doncaster Rovers Belles celebrate their second win of the season against Sheffield FC.Doncaster Rovers Belles celebrate their second win of the season against Sheffield FC.
Doncaster Rovers Belles celebrate their second win of the season against Sheffield FC.

There are no airs and graces with Butler, who takes in the villages of Warmsworth and Edlington on his round delivering letters and parcels.

"I have got a new-found respect for posties,” he adds.

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"You think it’s going to be simple but it’s not simple, it’s tough.

"They don’t half work hard. The amount of miles you do in your legs, it’s unbelievable. You are looking at 12 or 13 miles a day.

"On the day of our first pre-season game I did a 12-mile round before I played, I’m trying to get around that now.”

How is he finding the transition to normal life?

"It’s good because there’s a good group environment. Outside of football you dont really get that different change of people.

"Here, you get people from all walks of life.”

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Is Butler the one who’s asked for a signature upon delivery?

"There’s a couple of people that know you,” he says.

"I don’t really care, I just want to get on with my job. It means nothing in real life as soon as you step away from that football pitch.

"Everyone knows you have to work. It’s nothing to be ashamed of at all. It’s a job and it’s a good job.

Nonetheless, Butler is still heavily involved in the game with no plans to cut back his commitments.

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"I don’t want to be a postie, I want to stay in football. If a job comes up and I get it that’s going to have to take a backwards step.

"I still love football. I was away from it for a year due to coaching at Peterborough but when Russ (Wilcox, Farsley’s manager) rang me I jumped at the chance.”

The 38-year-old adds: "I don’t feel my time is up yet

"I still feel young. I’m not going to play league football but I can still play as high as I can.

"I still feel I have got a positive influence on people around me. Once I stop being able to influence I’ll step away.”

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In his experience, watching from the sidelines doesn’t compare to the buzz of playing.

"You are sat there watching your teams thinking ‘I still believe I have got something to give’,” adds Butler.

"I want to be in football, that’s what I have done my whole life. You do miss it and it does make you feel sad.

"I didn’t get a chance to bow out so that played a big part in wanting to get back into it so I could finish on my terms and not someone else’s.”

Doncaster Rovers Belles remains a big part of the plan.

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"I see Belles as my little project,” adds Butler. “I have put a lot of time and effort into it.

"I work a lot of hours doing things for the team and not a lot of people will see that. I do everything as I would in a full-time environment.

"I want my teams to be prepared and ready for every single eventuality.”

Belles currently play in the fourth tier of women’s football in England.

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They finished second last season and have won both of their games at the start of the 22/23 campaign.

Butler’s side scored twice in the final ten minutes against Lincoln City on the opening day to win 4-3, having earlier trailed 2-0.

They followed that result up by beating Sheffield FC, who had won their previous two games, 2-1 on Tuesday.

Can they go one step further this term and begin making their way back up the football pyramid?

"We are always looking to improve,” says Butler.

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“The only way we can improve on last season is by getting promotion, but it’s going to be tougher than last year.

"There’s teams that are paying when our girls are doing it for the sheer love of it.

"We are pushing to be promoted, otherwise there’s no point in playing the game. I want to win every single game we play.”

Belles are hoping to capitalise on the surge in popularity of women’s football following the success of England’s women at the European Championships this summer.

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They will play their home matches at the Iqbal Poultry Stadium this term, which is also the home of Club Thorne Colliery FC.

Butler adds: “I would love for the fans to get behind the team this year.

"They sometimes don’t get the accolades they should, they go out there and put in some brilliant performances.

"It frustrates me because they deserve the same as men because they are giving the same, if not more.

"We are in such a good position now with women’s football. We should be supporting it all the way.”