Scotland Wales Northern Ireland
BBC Homepage feedback | low graphics version
BBC Sport Online
You are in: Football  
Front Page 
Results/Fixtures 
Football 
Eng Prem 
FA Cup 
World Cup 2002 
Champions League 
Uefa Cup 
Worthington Cup 
Eng Div 1 
Eng Div 2 
Eng Div 3 
Eng Conf 
Scot Prem 
Scottish Cup 
CIS Ins Cup 
Scot Div 1 
Scot Div 2 
Scot Div 3 
Europe 
Africa 
Teams 
Cricket 
Rugby Union 
Rugby League 
Tennis 
Golf 
Motorsport 
Boxing 
Athletics 
Other Sports 
Sports Talk 
In Depth 
Photo Galleries 
Audio/Video 
TV & Radio 
BBC Pundits 
Question of Sport 
Funny Old Game 

Around The Uk

BBC News

BBC Weather

Friday, 19 January, 2001, 10:46 GMT
Belles back in business
England's Karen Burke (right) tussles with Anita Rapp of Norway
Burke, one of nine England players in the Belles' squad
BBC Sport's Sue Thearle meets Doncaster Belles manager Julie Chipchase, keen to avenge the disappointment of last season when they lost the title by a single point.

It's been business as usual for the Doncaster Belles this season.

Eight matches have brought 8 victories, the latest of which came last weekend when they beat Barry Town 5-0.

With games in hand on leaders Arsenal, the Belles look determined to avenge the disappointment of last year when they were pipped to the title by Croydon and a single point.


We started sluggishly but now we've really hit out stride
  Julie Chipchase

"It's been a funny season really," says manager Julie Chipchase.

"We started quite sluggishly, then got going and then had to sit on the sidelines when lots of games got cancelled because of the weather.

"But now we've really hit our stride and I feel really pleased with the way things are shaping up.

"But it's not a two-horse race. Arsenal are very strong again this year and Charlton haven't played anything like as many games as the rest.

"I know they've got a new set-up down there, but I think they could come strong so it's not cut and dried at all."

Becky Easton
Easton: 'Tough tackler'

The Belles are certainly a formidable prospect as Barry found out last weekend.

With Gillian Coulthard enjoying an Indian summer in a new defensive role, Chipchase has significantly strengthened her squad this season and it's paid off.

Debbie Bampton arrived from Croydon during the summer, aided and abetted by the double coup of signing Becky Easton and Karen Burke from Everton.

Add the return of Joanne Broadhurst to all that, and it's easy to see why the Belles are flying.

"I felt we needed something a little bit different after last season," admitted Chipchase.

"We were so disappointed to miss out on the league in that way that I wanted to add a little extra to the squad and that's what these girls bring.

Karen Burke
Burke: 'Extra skill'

"Joanne is a real battler and a huge character. Karen has that bit of extra skill while Becky is a tough tackler. They all bring different things to the team, but it's really helped us."

The extra quality also comes at a price.

The Belles had 9 players at Hope Powell's England get-together in Peterborough this week.

It meant they had to change their regular training session to allow the girls to return home and have a rest.

But far from being a hindrance, Chipchase sees it as a bonus.

"Credit to the players for getting picked. They've all worked hard and deserve it. I don't think it's a distraction for them.

"Far from it, it's fantastic and it's a terrific incentive for the other players at the club to work hard and get selected as well."

Ground shift

Success on the field is also being counter-balanced by progress off it.

The club had a meeting this week with Doncaster Council about a proposed move to a new 1.6 million stadium at Tollbar Bentley.

If all goes according to plan the Belles will be in their new home in 18 months' time.

And that's just in time for the proposed launch of the professional league.

"We're all really looking forward to that," confessed the Belles boss.

"I've always wanted to be a professional manager. And if it helps me achieve that goal, I'd be very happy indeed."

Search BBC Sport Online
Advanced search options
See also:

14 Jan 01 |  Football
Belles hell for Barry Town
22 Dec 00 |  Football
Millennium makeover
Links to top Football stories are at the foot of the page.


Links to other Football stories

^^ Back to top