Doncaster Rovers Belles manager Nick Buxton resigns citing mental strain

Doncaster Rovers Belles are looking for a new manager after the resignation of Nick Buxton.

The former Scarborough and Halifax Town goalkeeper stepped up from the coaching staff to succeed Andy Butler last September, but has found the strains of the job difficult.

"I am extremely grateful and honoured that I have managed the club," he said in a statement on social media. "But on reflection I have found it hard personally and mentally. And now I feel the time is right to let someone else move the club forward, bring in players they want and start again."

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For the third season running, the Belles were second in last season's FA Women's National League Division One Midlands – the third tier – 12 points behind champions Stourbridge, who claimed the only promotion spot. They also reached the final of the Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA Cup.

A restructure means they will play in Division One North next season.

The Belles are one of the historic names of English women's football, twice national champions and six-times FA Cup winners.

But they have been left behind by the emergence of the Women's Super League, which increasingly mirrors the men's game, with those clubs tied to the richest Premier League clubs faring the best.

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The Belles merge with Doncaster Rovers in 2023, and were founder members of the Women's Super League in 2011 but lost their franchise to Manchester City, dooming them to relegation one game into the 2013 season.

RESIGNATION:  Nick Buxton has quit as Doncaster Rovers Belles managerRESIGNATION:  Nick Buxton has quit as Doncaster Rovers Belles manager
RESIGNATION: Nick Buxton has quit as Doncaster Rovers Belles manager

Buxton had recently spoken about the need for the amateur club to start paying players in order to compete with the likes of Leeds United, Hull City and Middlesbrough – incorporated into the men's club last month.

“All at the club are desperately disappointed to see Nick go," said Belles chief executive Russ Green.

“He did a fantastic job when taking the reins from Andy Butler and really made the team his own while mounting a really strong challenge for promotion and taking us to a first cup final in 13 years.

“We thank Nick for all he has done during his time at the club and wish him the very best for his future.”