James Jepson steps down from Rugby Town post after just eight games into new season - The Rugby Observer
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17th Aug, 2022

James Jepson steps down from Rugby Town post after just eight games into new season

Steve Carpenter 22nd Sep, 2016 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016

THE MANAGERIAL merry-go-round continues at Butlin Road following the resignation of Rugby Town boss James Jepson at the weekend.

Jepson quit on the back of Valley’s 6-0 drubbing in the FA Cup at Brackley citing personal reasons for the decision, after just over four months in charge.

The 34-year-old was embarking on his first managerial appointment after a long non-league playing career, but was absent from the heavy defeat due to a pre-arranged holiday.

He emailed the club his decision on Saturday evening though, and it is believed that he felt that the impact and demands that the role was having on his home and work life were too great. Jepson’s experienced right-hand man John Ramshaw has also decided to leave.

“We are disappointed that the appointment has not worked out the way we had all hoped,” said Rugby Town director Neil Melvin.

“We accept that there is a risk to recruiting a manager with limited experience, but we thought in James we had identified the type of progressive, committed and fresh candidate that we were seeking for a long-term tenure at the club.

“We would like to place on record our thanks for all his efforts in his short time here and wish him well in the future.”

Valley have moved quick to appoint former player Gary Moran as caretaker manager for the interim period whilst they continue their search for a long-term appointment.

Moran, also 34, has made over 200 appearances for Valley in two previous spells at the club, and had signed up for a third towards the end of last week, but was cup-tied for the Brackley trip.

The Rugby-born defender had started the season at Midland Football League club Coventry United after three successful campaigns at Stratford, where he had captained the team to their Southern League Midland Division promotion and was also a part of manager Carl Adams’ backroom staff.

“We are grateful to Gary for stepping in to take the job on in the short-term,” Melvin added. “He knows the club and the local non-league scene well and hopefully he can steady the ship for us in the meantime.”

The departure of Jepson mirrors the start of Town’s 2015/16 season, when another rookie manager Gary Mills left around the same time with Rugby struggling near the foot of the NPL South Division.

Mills was replaced by Dale Belford, who guided the club to a respectable ninth placed finish before the two parties split by mutual consent in the summer.

Jepson’s tenure lasted just 13 days longer than Mills’ total, and he leaves the club in a similar predicament in the league with just four points from five games and in joint 20th position in the table.

Moran’s first task sees him face games at Lincoln United this Saturday and at Spalding next Tuesday, as Rugby complete a run of four successive fixtures away from Butlin Road.

Unlike Valley, United managed to pull off a giant-killing feat in the cup last weekend by returning from another National League North side Nuneaton with a 2-1 victory. However they too have struggled a bit in the league so far, and are just a point ahead of Town.

Moran will be speaking to his newly-inherited squad over his first week to discuss future plans, but with many players sharing a personal connection with Jepson, there are likely to be some early departures from the fold.

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