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There can be few people in Doncaster that haven't heard the plight of the Doncaster Rovers Belles and their fight for survival but none have come up with a more innovative idea to help out than the Belles' male counterparts Doncaster Rovers.
Plans are currently being drawn up to bring a day long "Festival of Football" to the Keepmoat to tie in with the Belles' National Division home game against Birmingham City on 12th October.
The highlight of the Festival will be a fund raising game with the current Rovers side playing a team of Rovers Legends including Francis Tierney.
The Legends manager for the day, Ian Snodin, will have an impressive line up to choose from with the team sheet so far reading like a Who's Who of Rovers past players.
Many of the Legends have played themselves into Rovers folklore, some being responsible for key goals in key games, others part of promotion winning sides that have brought success to the club in recent years. Simon Marples, Mark Albrighton, John McGrath, Jason Blunt and Neil Roberts are all in the squad, so too is long range goal specialist Tim Ryan, midfielder John Doolan and striker Leo Fortune-West. Final places in the starting line up are being contested by Rovers' top goalscorer in the Conference season - Paul Barnes - plus one of the scorers from the vital game at Stoke, Dave Morley.
Returning to Rovers is a man who will always be a legend to the fans, Francis Tierney, scorer of the golden goal that put the club back into the Football League in a dramatic end to the Conference play-off final.
Rovers Chairman John Ryan said of the plans: "It's not only a chance for us to help the Belles financially, this is an amazing opportunity for Rovers fans to see some of our true heroes - players that have won our hearts in recent times and some that we never thought would ever pull on the Rovers shirt again, nor play at our new home ground. I can't wait to welcome these players back and show them the Stadium and the great job the current team are doing in the Championship - some of these players saw us out of the Conference and look at us now!"
Rovers Manager Sean O'Driscoll added: "We just want to help the Belles. As a club, the Rovers have seen lean times and we recognise we are in a position to help with this fundraiser. We have an International break that weekend so we've decided to play this one off game with all proceeds going to the Belles."
Belles Chairman Jonathan James said: "We're absolutely thrilled at the prospect and urge Doncaster Rovers fans to come out and see a great game and at the same time help us to raise the vital funds for our future survival.
"More details will be released next week about tickets but we are assured prices will be very reasonable. There are also more plans to reveal about the day's activities with the possibility of one-off opportunities for fans to get involved in the day's events. Rovers fans should keep an eye on the website for further details but we are promised some "once in a lifetime opportunities" will be available!
"The Belles are an historic club and founder members of the Women's League. Next year we celebrate our 40th anniversary year but we need sponsorship and investment to pull us through this difficult time. Money in the ladies game is hard to come by and we've lost some sponsors recently, leaving us in a very precarious position financially. We are extremely grateful to the Rovers and the Keepmoat Stadium management for this opportunity to raise much needed cash and at the same time the profile of the Belles and ladies football in general."
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