IT WAS the end of an era for Rugby Town this week after they were officially signed off from the Southern League by collecting two awards at the league’s annual get together in Devon.
Valley’s departure to the Northern Premier League Division One (South) was confirmed at the AGM, which brings to an end a 32-year stretch as the longest continuous serving club in the league having joined back in 1983.
The club were complimented by league officials for the way they had conducted themselves in that time.
And they also received the Central Division Fair Play Award for the 2014/15 season, which was determined by the number of disciplinary points received throughout the campaign.
There was also a long service award for Valley’s President Pete Kilvert in recognition of his 37- year association with the club, which included a spell as Chairman in the mid 1990’s as well as his longstanding position as club doctor until his retirement from general practice in 2013.
The transfer to the new league comes after a similar move was mooted two years ago although the club’s geographical location on the borders of both leagues means that a return to the Southern League at some point in the future is a likely scenario.
In the meantime Valley look forward to a new adventure new Town assistant-manager Craig Adams is one of many associated with the club who is looking forward to the switch.
He explained: “Nothing should be viewed as a negative, it’s a new league and an exciting new challenge for us. We will be the new kids on the block and many of the other teams may not know too much about us, so hopefully this can work to our advantage.
“We have heard good things about the league, and it is expected that the grounds and infrastructure may generally be of a higher standard than some of those we have encountered previously, and hopefully the better quality pitches will help with the kind of football we hope to be playing this season.”
The transfer of leagues will see a likely early return to Butlin Road for Dave Stringer, after the ex-Valley boss was confirmed as the new manager at divisional counterparts Chasetown.
Stringer will be joined at the Scholars by his former assistant Tony Clarke, and players Justin Marsden and Lewis Rankin – the latter of whom had previously committed himself to returning to Town for the coming season.