Vauxhall Motors brought the curtain down on 12 years of football at Conference North level and almost 20-years in the non-league pyramid on Saturday.
The Rivacre Park club, who announced in March their decision to resign from the league owing to financial difficulties, slipped to a 2-0 home defeat against Solihull Moors in their final game in non-league football’s second tier.
The defeat brought an end to the campaign with the caretaker management duo of Gary Martindale and Anthony Wright helping to steer the club clear of the drop zone following the departure of former manager Carl Macauley to Chester FC as assistant boss last month.
Wright, who also starred for Motors as a player, said Saturday’s game was an emotional one for all connected with the club.
“The past few weeks since it was announced that we would be resigning have been pretty tough to be honest, but the lads have been exceptional,” he said.
“The players could have left, but they stayed with the club and saw the task through to the end. They have been an absolute credit to themselves and the football club.
“Saturday was a tough one for the players, staff and fans. It was really emotional at times and I couldn’t believe that it was going to be the last time the club would be playing in the Conference North.
“It hasn’t sunk it still and it probably won’t until the start of next season when clubs go back in for pre-season training. It’s very sad.”
Motors, who will play in the West Cheshire League next season, finished the season 18th, six points above the relegation places, but were undone in their final game in the pyramid, with goals either side of the break from Michael Taylor and Darryl Knights securing the points for Moors.
Motors goalkeeper Zac Jones kept the score down as he saved a first-half Knights penalty, while striker Paulo Mendes had the best chance for the home side, seeing his 81st-minute 12-yard effort kept out spectacularly by Jasbir Singh in the Moors goal.
The players and backroom staff now face an uncertain future.
“All the lads will be looking for new clubs now and the same will apply for me, Gary and the rest of the backroom team,” said Wright.
“The lads have been exceptional in recent weeks so I would hope that other clubs have taken note and that they can fix themselves up pretty quickly.
“Me, Gary, Carl (Macauley) and Reg McGuire (first team coach) are going away on holiday and I’ll take stock of the situation and just have to wait and see what happens.
“I don’t know where I’ll be next season. Hopefully I’ll get the call from somewhere and be back in the game quickly.
“It’s sad that it has all come to this. In my opinion, the club could have found a way around the situation and stayed in the league somehow, but I’m not in possession of all the facts and figures and I might be taking a bit of a selfish view. I know it was a decision that was taken with the best interests of the club at heart, but it doesn’t make it any easier.”
Karl Clair was named Motors Player of the Year and received his award before Saturday’s game.