23 February 2012
Doncaster Rovers Belles have released long-serving midfielder Vicky Exley, writes Paul Goodwin.
Former England international Exley, 36 spent the best part of two decades at the Belles after joining as a teenager from Sheffield Wednesday.
She forged a reputation as one of the game's most prolific box-to-box midfielders - and scored Doncaster's first ever Super League goal at Lincoln last year.
Boss John Buckley told the Free Press that the decision to release Exley was one of the hardest he has ever had to make.
Buckley said 'Vicky has been a great servant to the club.
'When she was younger there were times when she virtually carried the team on her shoulders.
'I just felt that she has reached a stage where her legs can't do what her brain wants her to do.
'It's probably one of the hardest decisions I'll ever have to make - and she'll probably hate me for it.
'But I felt it's in the best interests of the club moving forward.'
Exley, who joined Doncaster aged 19, scooped the Sports Personality of the Year gong at last year's Doncaster Sports Awards afer scoring 25 goals in just 29 games in Belles' final season in the Premier League.
The Belles' longest serving player was a regular in the midfield engine room last term as the club finished seventh out of eight in the inaugural FA Women's Super League (FA WSL).
By Paul Goodwin www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk
Everyone at the club would like to thank Vicky for all her efforts during her time at the club and wish her well for the future.