Doncaster Rovers Belles have been welcomed back into the top tier of women’s football with open arms.
The red tape might still need cutting. Belles’ place in FAWSL1 is subject to meeting FA licensing requirements.
But the club’s impending return to the top table has met with a very favourable reaction from the women’s football community and beyond.
Belles’ controversial demotion from the top division on a technicality attracted worldwide attention - and also condemnation - two years ago.
However, after just missing out on promotion to Sunderland last year, Doncaster sealed an automatic promotion spot in Glen Harris’s first season in charge with victory at London Bees on Sunday.
Here is a taste of the reaction on social media:
Television presenter Dermot O’Leary, who was outspoken about Belles’ relegation to FAWSL2, tweeted: “By the by, huge congrats to @donnybelles for winning promotion. To a league they shouldn’t have been kicked out of in the first place. X”
England Women’s boss Mark Sampson was among those queuing up to offer congratulations to Belles and Reading, who also booked a promotion place last weekend. He tweeted: “Congratulations to @donnybelles @GlenHarris11 @ReadingFCWomen @KellyChambers07 on fantastic season’s gaining promotion to #FAWSL 1”
Manchester City, the club that replaced Doncaster in the top division in 2014, also sent their best wishes via Twitter. “Congratulations to @donnybelles and @ReadingFCWomen on their promotion to the @FAWSL 1”, they tweeted.
Perhaps the most significant tweet came from Katie Brazier, the FA’s head of women’s leagues and competitions.
In a message that suggested that Belles will not have any issues with regards to licensing, she said: “Welcome to @FAWSL 1 @donnybelles @ReadingFCWomen Congratulations all involved.”
Birmingham City Ladies manager David Parker also tweeted: “Congrats to @donnybelles @GlenHarris11 and everyone at the club on promotion. Back where you belong.”