RUGBY TOWN: Herbert returns as Sockett departs

Craig Herbert
Craig Herbert
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Ex-player appointed assistant manager

Club favourite Craig Herbert will be back in the Valley fold this season, after the ex-player – who made more than 300 appearances for Rugby – was appointed as Dave Stringer’s assistant, following last week’s departure of Martin Sockett by mutual consent.

Sockett left the club for a third time after all parties decided that the conflict of interest caused by him managing a Sunday league team elsewhere in the Midlands was an unworkable one.

Sockett’s first two spells at the club had been as manager from 1998-2001 and then again in 2010-11, and having departed just over a year ago to take over the reins at Redditch, he then quickly returned as Stringer’s number two last September.

Chairman Brian Melvin thanked him for his contributions and also outlined the reasoning behind the split. He said: “Martin’s input last season was extremely valuable and nearly helped us to that promotion we all want at the club.

“However the Board of Directors firmly believe that if we are to achieve that goal this season, then everyone’s priority and focus needs to be on Southern League football. We discussed this with Martin and we all agreed that in the situation it was best that we part company.”

Herbert’s return to Butlin Road comes after a two and a half year absence from Town. He is Rugby’s second highest appearance maker, after featuring in ten consecutive seasons from 2000 to 2010 – with only a short spell away from the club at Solihull Borough in 2005.

The Chairman was delighted to welcome him back to the club. He said: “Herbs is a Valley man through and through, and getting him here is a great boost ahead of the new season.

“He has plenty of experience and knowledge of the non-league scene and has played professionally before that too. I’m sure that Dave (Stringer), Danny (Hall) and him can form a strong and successful management team.”

# Melvin Gourlay – one of the players believed to be featuring in Sockett’s Sunday league team – has also decided to leave the club. The defender made 46 league appearances in two spells with Town, and had previously started the first four warm-up games this season.