Doncaster Rovers Belles manager Nick Buxton resigns citing mental strain
"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."
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.
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.
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.”