Belles revert to red and white

Belles’ president Sheila Edmunds has said the upcoming 2019/20 season is reminiscent of the early years of Doncaster Belles despite being unfamiliar territory for a team who have competed in the top tiers for most of their 50-year history.

“The league is a bit of an unknown territory at this present time, but historically we started life in the Sheffield league,” Sheila said.

“There weren’t enough teams for that league to continue so we ended up in the Nottingham league. We travelled all around the Nottingham and Derby areas so we’re familiar with that – so it’s a little bit like going back in time.”

A second change that will echo the club returning to its roots is the club colours which will revert to the red and white that the Belles first wore when they formed in 1969.

“When we started in 1969 and we were at Belle Vue, our first kit was white shirt, red socks, red shorts – so in many ways there is that acknowledgement there and it’s great that we’re working with Club Doncaster on that,” Sheila added.

“My passion has always been the yellow and blue because there’s history behind that but as long as we have both colours in our home and away kit then I’m happy with that.”

Belles chief executive Russ Green added: “Women’s teams are joining with men’s teams more and more, you see it with Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal – so we feel, with the Belles joining Club Doncaster, we should wear the club colours and be proud of it while still recognising the heritage of the Belles.

“The blue and yellow will be predominant in our training kit, away kit and we’ll never forget that because that’s the history of the club. There is a detail on the new kit which remembers the past colours and the 50 years – that was agreed with Shelia. The supporters will be able to see that at the launch night. The detail is a nice touch and will always be there.”

Shaw excited for new beginning within Club Doncaster

Belles manager Zoey Shaw says the club’s transition into Club Doncaster is the start of a new beginning for her side.

The most historic side in women’s football joined the Club Doncaster family in May this year, a year which coincides with the Belles 50th anniversary, and Shaw feels this is an exciting time for everyone connected with the club.

“It’s a really exciting time for us as a club, as well as for the women’s game in general, to become a part of Club Doncaster alongside Rovers, as one club united, it’s so exciting, we’re going to go out and embrace it,” she said.

“We’re going to look to take as much from them out of it as I hope they do from us, we’re looking forward to collaborating ideas, and then by doing that I feel it can really take the Belles forward.

“We’re in a much better place now, it’s a new challenge in a new league for us, we don’t know what to expect from the teams we come up against because we haven’t played any of them before, so we know we have to do a lot of work behind the scenes.”

The Belles begin life within the Club Doncaster family by playing in the Women’s National League Division One Midlands for the first time ever in their history, and for Shaw, there is only one aim for her side come April.

“We won’t beat around the bush, our ultimate goal at the end of this season is to earn promotion out of this league, Doncaster Rovers Belles deserves better, so do the players that have stayed around, I have a lot of belief in my squad to get the job done,” she added.

“We looked to retain a lot of players from last season, that was a must for us after all the development that went on last year, keeping the young ones is so valuable to us, now we’re looking to add in experienced heads, strength and depth and I feel we’ve done just that.

“This season we have a real plan in place with a proper pre-season, we’ve got the trials out the way, we’ve recruited well, I’m currently going through working towards my A License, so we’re already a massive step ahead of where we were this time last year.”

Belles host launch night at the Keepmoat Stadium

The Belles will host a launch night at the Keepmoat Stadium on Wednesday July 17 as they officially join the Club Doncaster family ahead of the 2019/20 season.

The launch night will start at 6.30pm and will take place in the Belle Vue Bar. It will bring together Belles staff, Club Doncaster staff, current Belles players and former Belles players in an event which celebrates the past while looking to a bright and exciting future.

The evening will give supporters a chance to meet new chief executive Russ Green as well as Club Doncaster chief executive Gavin Baldwin and they will also have chance to hear from manager Zoey Shaw.  Staff from across Club Doncaster will be in attendance with all departments represented.

As part of the launch, the Belles will be unveiling the new home and away kits for the forthcoming season as well as launching season tickets. Belles and Club Doncaster will also layout the plans being put in place to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of England’s most successful women’s football teams.

The evening will offer supporters an opportunity to ask questions either from the floor or in advance by emailing media@clubdoncaster.co.uk.

Attendance is complimentary but anyone attending must have a ticket. Tickets can be collected from the Club Doncaster Box Office in person or online by clicking here.

Belles appoint chief executive

Russ Green has been appointed chief executive of Doncaster Rovers Belles, the first time the position has been created at the most iconic club in women’s football.

Russ, who has previously been in charge of Hartlepool United and Rochdale, will oversee the transition into the Club Doncaster group this summer.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted and honoured to be given this role, everyone knows the name of the Belles and it’s clear from everyone I’ve already met that there is a real determination to bring great days to the club again.

“With England doing so well in the World Cup there is a real buzz about women’s football at the moment, it feels like a great time to build on interest in the Belles and inspiring local girls who have seen their heroes on TV and now dream of following in their footsteps.

“There is a tremendous heritage for us here to build on, and from speaking to people like Sheila Edmunds and manager Zoey Shaw, as well as their staff and players, it’s clear that there is a real excitement about what the future holds with a focus on what the club is all about – developing young players and inspiring future generations.”

Club Doncaster chief executive Gavin Baldwin feels Russ can play a significant role in the Belles climbing back up the leagues.

He said: “I’ve known Russ for many years, he is a man of integrity who can bring his decades of experience in football to the club.

“We could not have found a better person to lead the club off the pitch, I know the coaching staff have already taken to him and I’m sure the players and fans will too. He will leave no stone unturned in his aim to get the Belles back to where they should be on the pitch, and in fact we can already point to ideas he has brought to the table which should really help the club develop.”

Belles return for pre-season training

Zoey Shaw is looking to strengthen her squad as the Belles head into the 2019/20 campaign.

The Belles returned for pre-season training on Tuesday night, and were joined by trialists as Shaw looks to build a squad capable of winning promotion back to the National League Northern Premier division.

She said: “We’ve got our current players and some possible new girls coming in over the next couple of weeks to have a look at.

“It’s about getting them lots of ballwork, building relationships with new people and identifying where we can strengthen the squad.”

Shaw is looking forward to a more structured pre-season as she finalises her backroom operation under Club Doncaster, in contrast to the summer of 2018 when off-the-field issues led to demotion from WSL 2.

She added: “We only had three weeks to put things together last summer, so this year we’ve got a real chance to put a structure in place.

“We have a really strong plan in terms of the style we want to play and the formation we plan to use, and after these first two weeks we will start to really nail down with more intensive sessions.”

Belles to hold open trials

The Belles invite potential players to open trial sessions to be held at the Club Doncaster Sports Village.

The four sessions will take place on the pitches beside the Keepmoat Stadium at the following times:

June 25: 7-9.30pm
June 27: 7-9.30pm
July 2: 7.30-9.30pm
July 4: 7.30-9.30pm

Interested players should contact Belles manager Zoey Shaw on littlelearnerssc@gmail.com.

Trials will take place on a 3G artificial surface so interested players should bring suitable footwear, plus training kit and shin pads.

On the night report to the Club Doncaster Academy reception, which is in the North Stand of the Keepmoat Stadium, and ask for Zoey.