Doncaster Rovers were formed in 1879 by a group of Doncaster plant workers and turned professional in 1885. Although traditionally playing in red and white hoops, Rovers first played in a navy blue strip which included a yellow cross (X) which extended from each shoulder. Also part of the original kit was actually a blue ‘Tam o’ Shanter’, and Doncaster are Rovers are the only side known to have worn one as part of their kit.
Rovers have played at four grounds in their history; the Intake Ground, the Bennetthorpe Ground, Belle Vue and most recently the Keepmoat Stadium. The most famous of these grounds is Belle Vue, known for its luscious playing surface. Belle Vue was home to the club from 1922 to 2006, before moving to the Keepmoat on New Year’s Day 2007.
Doncaster Rovers are currently owned by John Ryan, Dick Watson and Terry Brammall, while John Ryan takes the chairman’s role. Former Liverpool, Bradford and Sheffield United striker Dean Saunders manages the side with former Leeds United defender Brian Carey as his assistant.
Len Graham holds the title as the most capped player, with 14 appearances for Northern Ireland while at the club. Fred Emery has made the most appearances for Doncaster Rovers, making 417 appearances between 1925 and 1936.
Matt Mills holds the record of the highest transfer fee received, leaving for Reading for £1.5million although rumours suggest that Billy Sharp’s transfer to Southampton was worth £1.8million.
The highest fee that Doncaster Rovers have ever paid out was to Sheffield United for Billy Sharp, standing at £1.15million which more than tripled the former record of £300,000 for Matt Mills.
Other notable players for Doncaster Rovers include;
- Harry Gregg
- Alick Jeffrey
- Charlie Williams
- Tom Keetley
- Clarrie Jordan
The Belles were formed in 1969 by young female draw ticket sellers on the terraces at Belle Vue, known then as the ‘Belle Vue Belles’. When the team began playing games outside of Doncaster, they changed their name simply to the ‘Doncaster Belles’.
The Belles were founder members of the National League in 1991/92, where they completed the double (League and F.A. Cup champions). From 2005 Belles joined forces with Doncaster Rovers to share both playing and training facilities, and therefore changed their kit from blue and yellow the red and white hoops of the Rovers and also changed their name yet again – this time becoming ‘Doncaster Rovers Belles’.
The Belles were named as one of the inaugural teams of the new ‘Women’s Super League’ in 2009 and began the first ever campaign in April 2011 with a 1-0 victory away at Lincoln Ladies.