Norton and Stockton Ancients have informed the EBAC Northern League that they are to resign from the league.
There were rumours over the weekend that the Division Two club would resign from the league if they were unable to find a new owner this week.
With nobody coming forward to the club notified the Northern League of their decision on Monday afternoon.
The League confirmed the decision in a statement, saying that “all proposed fixtures involving the club will be suspended”
The statement read “The Ebac Northern League has today (November 21) received formal notification from the chairman of Norton & Stockton Ancients FC of the club’s intention to resign its membership of the league with immediate effect.
“The matter will be discussed at the next meeting of the League Management Committee on December 8 after which a further statement will be issued.
“In the meantime all proposed fixtures involving the club will be suspended”
The Ancients sat in thirteenth position in the Northern League’s second tier, as manager Deano Browne tried to help them bounce back from relegation from Division One last season.
There have been some notable successes, including the 2-1 FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round win against Northern League Division One side Whitley Bay and a 3-2 away win at ambitious Blyth Town.
For now it seems that the club, in its current state, will have played their final Northern League game with Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat against Heaton Stannington.
They released a statement of their own on Monday evening, with chairman Mick Mulligan paying tribute to the work done by manager Deano Browne and the volunteers at the club.
He also confirmed that the Ancients will “develop our youth teams coming through the club”
The statement in full read “Today Norton and Stockton Ancients FC have notified the Northern League that we are withdrawing the first team from the league.
“The club has decided that the first team is no longer viable and the cost is not affordable due to diminishing spectators and limited funds available.
“The club have tried over a number of seasons to attract sponsorship but in the current economic climate it is very difficult for companies to support local football clubs.
“The club would specifically like to thank Deano Browne who has managed the team and tried to bring a level of professionalism that has been genuinely appreciated by everyone and we know Deano will go on to manage at any level he decides to.
“The decision is purely a financial one as we have fantastic volunteers who run match day like a well oiled watch but without the supporters we cannot continue.
“Norton as a Football Club will now plan for the future and develop our youth teams coming through the club.
“We would like to acknowledge and say thank you for the genuine heartfelt messages and comments received from the football community. The decision has been a very difficult one to make.
Norton and Stockton Ancients were a founder member of the Northern League’s second tier in 1982 and they secured promotion to the top tier for the first time in 2009.
A year later they reached the quarter finals of the FA Vase, only to be beaten by Barwell in the last eight. There was another notable acheivement that year as the club set a new attendance record, with 1,526 spectators coming through the gates for their FA Cup Third Round Qualifying game against FC United of Manchester, with the visitors running out 5-2 winners.
After being relegated back to Northern League Division Two in 2013 they secured a return to the top flight two years later. That stay was to last only one season and now with the club sat in thirteenth position in the league they were founder members of, they have announced their resignation from the league.
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)