Doncaster Belles’ most successful manager Paul Edmunds hopes that the FA’s decision to relegate the club will not be “the death of the Belles”.
Edmunds, who now coaches Belles juniors, fears for the future of the club he has adored since taking over the mantle in 1984 and leading them to glory during a superb managerial career spanning 11 successful years.
Belles, who reached 11 FA Cup finals out of 12 from 1983 to 1994, were unstoppable in a golden period for the club which helped to found the Women’s Premier League in 1991.
This picture shows their dominance in 1988 when a team boasting 11 internationals went on to win the Women’s FA Cup.
However, 2014 will mark a very different era for the magnificent mainstays - one which Edmunds hopes doesn’t mark the beginning of the end for the club his wife helped establish.
“People associate Doncaster Belles as the pioneers of women’s football, it won’t feel right to have them in WSL2,” he said.
“The timing for me was a massive shock, one game in and they were relegated, how do you motivate your players?
“I coach the younger players and they look up to these types of top players who are playing in the top league too.
“Will this be the death of the Belles? I really hope not.”