Rugby Town have confirmed that Dale Belford will leave his position as first team manager at the end of the season.

Belford’s seven month spell in charge at Butlin Road will come to an end at the conclusion of the current campaign by mutual consent after taking over the reins in September 2015.

Rugby Town Director Neil Melvin thanked Belford for his contributions: “Dale has done a great job for the club.

“When he took over we were in a precarious position in the table and whatever happens RUGBY TOWNnow he has surpassed any expectations.”

He continued: “By announcing the decision at this point, we hope that it eliminates any uncertainty and distraction ahead of what hopefully will be the completion of a great turnaround in fortunes on the pitch.

“We’re also pleased that Dale will have an active role in helping to find his replacement, so ensuring that we maintain as much continuity as possible going into the 2016/17 season.”

Belford took charge with the team struggling near the foot of the table in their first season within the Evostik NPL structure.

He has since presided over an impressive climb up the Division One South listings and the club now go into the final six games of the season in 9th place still with an outside chance of achieving a play-off berth.

After losing three of his first four league games in charge with the squad he inherited from previous boss Gary Mills, Belford and his assistant Steve Farmer have gradually transformed the make-up of the playing line-up – going on to suffer just five more defeats in the subsequent 25 league outings, including a nine match unbeaten run around the turn of the year.

His side also came within a whisker of a place in the final qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time in twenty one years – denied at the death by a late equaliser at National League Brackley, before losing the Butlin Road replay.

The ex-Tamworth manager confirmed his departure: “I’ve talked things through with the club and now that the primary objective of my appointment has been attained, we have concluded that a different direction would be best in the longer term.

“I was tasked with keeping the club in this level of the non-league pyramid, and this has been achieved.

“As I have said before, it has been the most challenging job that I have ever had in football, but it has been thoroughly enjoyable one too and I thank the club for giving me this opportunity to get back into the game.

“I can assure everybody that despite this announcement, my full focus is on achieving as high a finish as we can in the division and hopefully this will mean a place in the play-offs and success beyond that.

“My staff, the players and the fans have been fantastic throughout my time here, and I would like to express my absolute gratitude for this.”

Source: Rugby Town FC

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