With the 2014-15 season kicking-off this weekend, the Chester and District Football League continues to thrive despite worries over the future of the grassroots game.
Across the UK, ever-increasing fees and a lack of investment in facilities leaves many clubs and leagues struggling to keep their heads above water.
Those same obstacles exist for clubs in Chester and the surrounding area, but the hard work of the volunteers at each club and excellent support from the league means the situation is not as bleak.
In fact, with 42 clubs from Chester, Wirral and Runcorn spread across three divisions the league will be operating at full capacity this season.
Paul Graham, honorary secretary of the Chester and District Football League, said that was testament to everyone involved.
He said: “Instead of the usual four smaller divisions, it has been decided this year to run with three larger ones offering more football to all our clubs.
“Off the field, we have managed to make one or two new signings.
“It is the first time in many years that we have managed to fill all of our vacancies on the management committee, which goes to show the interest we are generating within our league.
“We are also delighted to welcome David Evans, former secretary of Crossway FC, onto the league executive as registrations secretary.
“David brings with him a vast wealth of experience and knowledge in running clubs and is fully aware of the commitment it takes to ensure things run smoothly.
“Add into the mix the stewardship of our chairman Mike Williams MBE and things are looking good for the season to come.”
Graham believes the new structure will ensure that the action on the pitch becomes even more competitive this season.
Queensferry Sports Premier Division champions Lache FC will start as favourites to retain their title but Andy Dutton’s side will have to fend off some strong challengers.
Kelsall, who finished runners-up last term, will again be in the mix and Shaftesbury Youth and Whitby Athletic have impressed in pre-season.
Chester Celtic have a new ground and a new name - Christleton Celtic - meaning confidence will be high and Birkenhead Town, promoted as Division One champions, have made some notable signings over the summer and could be dark horses.
Rivals Ellesmere Port FC and Ellesmere Port Town FC, Blacon Youth, Helsby, Hoole Rangers, Kelma, Uberlube and Woodlands Santos make up a division that promises to be filled with twists and turns.
Olympic Trophies Division One represents perhaps the most difficult of all the divisions to call.
Porky’s Pantry and Frankly’s Bar, winners of the Division Two and Division Three titles respectively last season, go into the season on a high and Deva Athletic have been too strong for Premier Division sides in pre-season.
Add in Neston Town, Boughton Athletic, Hooton and Lodge Bar, and this division is wide open.
Ashton, Cestrian Alex, Chester Nomads III, Crossway, Hoole Rangers Reserves, Orange Athletic and Peacock 09 will all be out to cause a few upsets along the way too.
Seven new clubs take their place in Link Up Division Two with Blacon Thistle, who have a squad packed with Premier League experience, among the favourites.
Woodchuch, champions of the Birkenhead and Wirral League last term, went 21 games unbeaten and will be a big danger.
Fellow newcomers Civil Defence, Eastham Athletic, Christleton Youth, FC Blacon and Neston Nomads will all be keen to make an impact.
Clubbies, Ellesmere Port Town Res, Kelsall Res, Newton Athletic, Orange Athletic Res and Samba make up what looks another difficult division.