History of the Doncaster Rovers Belles

 

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The Doncaster Rovers Belles women’s football team have found that that they are to be relegated to the FA Women’s Super League Two no matter where they finish in the league this season. The team are one of the most-celebrated in the history of the women’s game, with an illustrious history.

The team were formed in 1969 as the Belle Vue Belles before changing that in 1971 to become the Doncaster Belles. The team were successful in local divisions, and cup competitions, in particular the FA Women’s Cup, in which they reached the final in 11 out of 12 years between 1983 and 1994. They won the trophy in 1983, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1992 and 1994.

In 1991 the team were asked to become founder members of the National League, which would become the FA Women’s Premier League in 1994. The team win the League and FA Women’s Cup double in 1991-1992 and 1993-1994. The team also runners up in the FA Women’s Premier League Cup in 1994, 1996 and 2009.

The Belles finished runner-up in the FA Women’s Premier League in 2002-2003 and were runners-up in the FA Women’s Cup in 2000 and 2002. They were also runners-up in the FA Women’s Community Shield in 2001 and 2003. The period after 2000 would come to be dominated by Arsenal Ladies FC.

While the team were not quite enjoying the same heights as in the 1990s, off the field the club was moving forward with a partnership announced between the Belles and Doncaster Rovers, with the team eventually changing their name to Doncaster Rovers Belles. Several teams in Doncaster also share the 15,000-seater Keepmoat Stadium after its completion in 2006.

In 2009 the team were named as one of eight members of the inaugural FA Women’s Super League, which began in 2011. That is where the team currently play, although that is set to change next season, pending an appeal.

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