Ramsgate FC chairman makes statement over resignation of manager Tony Russell

Rams FC Photo Louis McLaren

Ramsgate FC chairman James Lawson has released a statement to supporters following the surprise resignation of first team manager Tony Russell after less than a month in the role.

Russell and assistant Joe Vines were appointed on June 10, three days after Ramsgate FC announced the club had “mutually agreed to part company with manager Ben Smith.”

During the 2023/24 season Ben had guided The Rams to the FA Cup 2nd round, a feat no other manager in the club’s history had achieved.

On Friday (July 5) Ramsgate FC announced the former Lewes manager and Vines had gone with ‘immediate effect.’

The club also had to cancel that night’s game against Kennington FC.

Ramsgate FC chairman James Lawson

James Lawson has now shed some light on the situation. He said: “I feel that it’s only fair to give our members an insight into what has happened behind the scenes at the club this summer.

“Firstly it’s important to outline that the success of the club over the past four years has been built on foundations of community togetherness. The youth section has grown from 100 to at times nearly 1,000. Season ticket holders have increased from just under 30 to over 300, average crowds from just over 200 to over a thousand, away support from a small band of regulars to coach loads. Whilst community projects have risen from negligible to thousands of meals being served and kids enjoying activities that even include flights around Thanet.

“Together we have enjoyed one of our greatest ever seasons. A record points total, our best ever runs in the FA cup and FA trophy whilst our local centre forward broke the 50 goal ceiling.

“Standing in the rain after defeat against Chichester in the play off semi final it seemed impossible that a season with so many highs ended with such a low.

Photo Louis McLaren

“Nobody felt this more deeply than Ben. A very emotional interview followed where things were said in the heat of extreme disappointment. Seb and I met Ben a few days after the game to confirm the new structure at the club that included Ben as first team manager for 2024/25 and Seb as director of football. We were all still hurting but Ben who is usually such a positive larger than life character still acutely felt the disappointment of not achieving our goals.

“May is one of the busiest months for ambitious people in non-league football. The vast majority of players are non-contracted and available before league forms are issued in June. The truth is that myself, Seb and other stakeholders were keen to see us get around the table but Ben needed more time to recover from the play off semi final defeat. Eventually this resulted in the discussion with Ben where we all agreed that the best way to build a foundation for success this season was with a new manager.

Tony Russell 

“We appointed Tony who has a very impressive managerial record. He quickly moved the majority of our squad on and brought in a number of new and very talented players. Many of these have been training with us and were scheduled to play on Friday although had not finalised their deals.

“That brings me onto Friday. The whole club was very excited to see Tony’s time at the club officially start with our friendly against Kennington. The standard football club chats and messages were exchanged and it was refreshing to feel genuinely positive on a rare Friday match day.

“At around midday we received a message from Tony resigning from the club. Although unclear at first this seems to have stemmed from a miscommunication over small elements of agreements made when Tony took the job. These types of issues are common in any business and are often solved through communication but that was not to be achieved on this occasion.

Rams FC fans Photo Louis McLaren

“Seb contacted members of the coaching team to find out more information with a very keen eye on the friendly that was just hours away. We received confirmation at 16.30 that the management team would not be travelling to the match.

“It is an unfortunate, unplanned situation but one where we now need to focus on the future and our preparations for the season ahead. Football teaches us to expect and deal with the unexpected.

“We moved quickly to inform Kennington, the players and officials and to make a statement.

“I want to sincerely apologise to all of you guys and to Kennington for having to cancel the game on Friday evening but you now have an understanding of the position we were in.

“The future is very bright for the coming season. The key objective of the club is to sustainably provide entertainment to the local community. We have great people including fans, players, coaches and back room staff who have become very good at achieving these goals.”

4 Comments

    • They can thank the Rashford foundation for the money that’s been fleeced from that charity since covid!

      Lawson says a lot but nothing of importance on the real reason they decided to call it quits, easy to blame those who don’t talk!

  1. So Tony and Joe spat there dummies out .
    Moved on half the squad that were there and now he’s gone too absolute joke of a manager .
    Resigning by message is a cowards way out .
    He has disrespected the fans and the club and hope he and Joe don’t get offered another job this season and that he never returns to southwood .

  2. So it reads like the chairman agreed something with the new management team and then did not deliver. This is NOT a normal thing, and if I’m reading this right, as it was amongst so much waffle, they were completely right. If the chairman is like this early doors, walk away!

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