Wednesday 28 January 2015

Handley Departs For Doncaster

Former skipper returns to Belles after 12 years as a Blue.

Jody Handley has today joined WSL2 side Doncaster Rovers Belles.

The former Blues captain – the most decorated in the Club’s history – moves on a free transfer to the Belles, with whom she spent three seasons with before joining Everton in 2004.

Handley, who has accumulated 38 England caps scoring six goals since making her debut in 2002, lifted both the FA Women’s’ Cup and the Premier League Cup while Toffee’s skipper.

Rachel Brown-Finnis has stood shoulder to shoulder with Handley on those occasions and was saddened to see the departure of a player who has become more than a team-mate over the years.

“Jody is my best friend so we obviously spoke about her options," she said. "She is under no illusions that there is not a lot of time left in her career and all she wants to do is play. Doncaster Belles offered her the chance to train and the manager almost immediately offered her the chance to be a part of their starting plans.

“Jody has given Everton so much. She is the most successful captain we’ve had, she lifted the FA Cup, and has been a real leader on the pitch. She has dragged people up – physically if needs be! – when the team has needed it and been a cornerstone of Everton.

“So it definitely is the end of an era for Jody to be leaving. And she will be playing against them this season which will be quite odd for both her and the Club! More than anything though I hope she just has an injury free season.”

Brown-Finnis, herself recently retired, believes Handley can look back on her time with the Blues with pride, adding: “It has been unbelievable to share the journey we have had with her. We started off at Liverpool together at 14 and 15, and we played for them for three or four years.

“After I went off to America, Jody soon followed and we played for England for a good number of years together.

“She was chief bridesmaid at my wedding as well! She has been a brilliant friend both on the pitch and more so off it to me.

“She is someone that I look forward to being best friends with for the rest of my life.”

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