Doncaster Rovers Belles Club History
The Club was originally formed in 1969 as the Belle Vue Belles by young women who were selling draw tickets on the terraces at Doncaster Rovers. They started out by playing local small-sided games but within a short period of time they found themselves venturing outside of Doncaster, where the Belle Vue part of the name had no meaning. In 1971 the club changed their name and became known as the Doncaster Belles!
After Championship success in the regional leagues (12 out of 13 in the Notts League and 2 from 2 in the North East League) in addition to many tournaments and Cup successes the Belles became founder members of the National League in the 1991/92 season - where they completed the League and F.A. Cup double without conceding a game!
In the 17-year history of the National League set-up, Doncaster Belles completed the double once more and in this Championship have finished second four times and third twice.
In 2005 we formalised a partnership link with Doncaster Rovers, which enabled us to play a number of our games at Belle Vue and also to use the excellent training facilities at Cantley Park. For the past five seasons we have been proud to wear the same kit as Doncaster Rovers, we then changed our name again to become finally known as the Doncaster Rovers Belles.
We worked along side Doncaster Rovers, Doncaster Lakers Rugby Club, Doncaster Athletics Club and Doncaster Council on the development of the new community stadium now used by all four clubs. The new stadium was completed on schedule and within budget in December 2006. This now provides us with a permanent base. We are the only Premier League club to have opportunity’s to play matches in a brand new 15,000-seated community stadium.
In March 2009 we were named as one of the eight members of the inaugural FA Women’s Super League due to start in March 2011. We believe the Super League will be the key platform to drive the women’s game forward in England. The Super League concept was developed to enable players in this country to earn a good living from the game whilst allowing Super League clubs to develop new revenue streams and support for women’s football.
The Belles for The Community initiative was launched November 2009, becoming Britain’s first social enterprise delivering community, social, health and educational services with female sport as a focal point. This launch was based on extensive research amongst a large number of community organisations and agencies within Doncaster and South Yorkshire and it has certainly raised the profile of the Belles significantly. It has also demonstrated the importance of opening up women’s football to the community and to become more than ‘just a football club.’
In turn maintaining our position as one of the major forces in the glorious game, further claiming that Doncaster Rovers Belles is the home of women’s football.