Vauxhall Motors boss Carl Macauley has said he is ‘heartbroken’ after the club announced it is to resign from the Conference North at the end of this season.
At an emotional emergency meeting at Rivacre Park on Tuesday night, Motors officials broke the news to Macauley and his players that the club would be resigning their league membership and dropping down to the West Cheshire League next season.
For Macauley, who has worked wonders on a shoestring budget at the Ellesmere Port side, the announcement came as a hammer blow, with the popular manager admitting the news came ‘totally out of the blue’.
“I’m absolutely devastated. The news has left me completely heartbroken,” he said.
“We were called for an emergency meeting and I thought that it was to do with recent on-field disciplinary problems. When the news was broken to us I was shocked and pretty emotional.
“When I relayed the news to the lads they were gutted. Their eyes were all fixed on me and it was hard for some of them to take.
“We have operated on a tight budget for years and have always stayed within that and I didn’t think in a million years that it would come to this.
“The club has become a huge part of my life so it has come as a massive blow that we are having to quit the league, but I appreciate that it is being done for all the right reasons and with the future of the club in mind.”
Motors lie 15th in the Skrill North, a league they have been in since winning promotion from the UniBond League in 2002, but difficulties in funding a side to compete in non-league football’s second tier have finally taken their toll.
Vauxhall Motors FC was formed in 1963 and started climbing the non-league pyramid 19 years ago. But they have been struggling to make ends meet on attendances of little more than 200.
Club chairman Alan Bartlam said in a statement that the decision was taken with ‘great sadness’ but was ‘necessary’ to preserve the club’s future and the longevity of its other senior and junior sides.
Macauley has pledged his commitment to the Motors cause for the remainder of the campaign but admitted the decision has left him with an uncertain future in the game.
“I’ll be giving my all for this football club until the very end and we want to go out on a high,” he said.
“I will assess my situation at the end of the season and, hopefully, I’ll be able to find another job in football management.
“I’ve been proud to be manager of this football club. It is a club that is close to my heart and that will always remain the case.”
Motors enjoyed their finest hour in 2002 when, as a UniBond League side, they defeated QPR, then of Division Two, at Loftus Road on penalties in an FA Cup first round replay.
Under then manager Alvin McDonald and including on-loan Chester City player and future Welsh international Danny Collins in their ranks, Motors claimed a draw in the first game at the Deva Stadium.
Chester FC star Craig Mahon, who joined the Blues from Motors last summer, expressed his sadness at the club’s decision and praised Macauley.
“I was totally shocked when I heard the news and I was gutted for the players, staff and fans,” said the Irish winger, who has been a recent star turn for Chester.
“It is a fantastic, family friendly club and I loved my time as a player there and have some great memories. I hope that they can sort everything out as it’s such a great little football club.
“Carl Macauley took a chance on me and gave me my break in football and I will be eternally grateful to him for that. He had faith in me. He is a superb manager and I hope that he can find a new club at the end of the season.”