An exodus of clubs has left gutted administrators with no option but to cease running the Ellesmere Port Junior League.
It is the second hammer blow to football in the town in the space of a few months following the demise of the Ellesmere Port & District Sunday League, which folded in May.
The junior league was founded in 1967 but the decision of clubs to switch to the Eastham & District Junior League has forced the committee’s hand.
Secretary Ian Burns has been involved with the league for more than 30 years as a parent, coach, manager and official.
He explained: “The situation is we have no teams whatsoever so the league is going to fold, which is very sad.
“Our games have been played on Saturdays and we used to be the only league in the area that did that. When the Wirral Mini & Junior Football League started up they give teams the option of whether to play on Saturday or Sunday and that had an impact.
“That league folded earlier this summer and went to a forum meeting with Cheshire FA and we were under the impression that teams who wanted to play on Saturday would come to us and teams who wanted to play on Sunday would go to Eastham.
“For whatever reason, Eastham has since said that games can be played on Saturday too and with the teams that have gone there we just can’t continue.”
Mr Burns said he tried to find out the reason for the change but to no avail and feels it a huge shame the near 50-year-old league has had to fold.
He said: “I first got involved at Hope Farm when my lad started playing for the under-9s and he’s 43 now. Like a lot of parents, I got asked to run the line and help put the nets up and then you end up as assistant manager and then you become the manager.
“Eventually I took on looking after the fixtures for the league and ended up in the secretary post, partly because there was no-one else. Everybody used to tell us what a well-run league we had and how nice it was to be a part of. It’s sad but what else can we do?”
The Ellesmere Port & District Sunday League was established in 1969 but folded in May when no-one came forward to replace four long-serving officials, who had decided to step down. Officials cited falling numbers, rising costs and neglected facilities as factors in the league’s demise.
Ten years ago another league catering for the town’s footballers disappeared when the South Wirral League folded.