ONE of the longest-established Sunday football clubs in North Staffordshire has disbanded.
Cheadle United were set to mark their 50-year affiliation to the Staffs FA this year, but a celebration planned for June was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now the club - the longest-serving in the Potteries and District Sunday League - has made the sad announcement it is folding.
Club secretary/treasurer Tony Webster said: "We can't get a side together for the new season, because quite a few players have left to join other clubs.
"It's very sad but we bear no malice to anyone and accept the situation.
"We've been struggling for the last couple of years and there is no way out this time.
"We had an horrendous time last year when we sometimes couldn't get a side together and had to forfeit a couple of games which cost us fines," he added.
The club was formed in 1967 by Dave Wilson under the name Cheadle Dominoes, but it did not become affiliated to the FA or join a local league until 1981.
It was then United joined the Leek and District Sunday League (LDSL) and later went on to progress to the Potteries and District Sunday League (PDSL), winning numerous titles and cups along the way.
The notable successes included winning the Sentinel Cup three times, Midland Sunday Cup, reaching the last eight of the Midland Sunday Cup, and topping both the PDSL Premier Division and LDSL without dropping a point.
Tony Webster added: The journey, however, was not all plain sailing, with many 'ups and downs', including one season when we were not able to fulfil fixtures.
"However, the club kepts its affiliation to the Staffs FA active to allow it to regroup and return the following season.
"A lot of hard work by the committee and a fresh influx of new and young local players resulted in United going on to further success."
Cheadle Town Council member Robert Slater said: “I think it’s a terrible shame that they have closed down.
“I understand they have closed due to not getting enough support from young lads, with some just not turning up.”
He added: “I think that they need recognition for what they have done over years.
“Especially the four lads who have kept it going: Peter Booth, Alan Hodgkinson, Michael Beardmore and Tony Webster".
A Staffs FA representative will present long-service awards to the four club members at the Bird in Hand, in Cheadle, on Friday, September 11 (5pm).
“The time and effort they have put in has been amazing,” added Coun Slater
Funds held by the club are to be used to help people in need of support in Cheadle.
Tony Webster said: "We want to spend the money in the town because that is where it was raised.
"We won't be making cash donations but will instead will purchase equipment that will help improve the quality of life of individuals."