RECORD-BREAKING Reading YMCA have stunned the local footballing community by announcing their intention to fold the first team with immediate effect, writes Richard Ashton.

The Young Men – who lost their extraordinary 69-match unbeaten Thames Valley League Premier Division following a 4-2 defeat at Wraysbury Village on Saturday – had dominated the competition in recent times.

The unbeaten streak – which lasted more than two-and-a-half-years dating back to March 2016 – was believed to be the longest of any non-league side in England and proved key in helping the team win three consecutive titles.

Since 2009/10, YMCA had won five Premier Division titles, the Berks & Bucks Intermediate Cup, two Berkshire Trophy Centre Senior Cups and a brace of Maidenhead Norfolkian Cups.

However, their facility at Padworth Lane was unable to host football at step 6 level, and chairman Mark Lemm admitted this had finally left the players with nothing more to give.

On Tuesday, he commented: "It was with sadness we have informed the TVPL and players of our intention to fold the first team with immediate effect.

"On a superficial level the commitment and enthusiasm was not there this season and in hindsight it would have have been better to make this decision in the summer.

"On a deeper level, we have achieved all we wanted to achieve and there is nothing left for us to do. We do not have the facility to gain promotion to Step 6 so we were just faced with going through the motions which no-one wanted to do.

"There has been no bust-up, no fallings out, no bitterness, and we depart with smiles on our faces and pride at what we have achieved."

He continued: "It is only left for us to thank the players, Glenn Goudie, Melissa Goudie, Stuart Cripps, Matty Letts and Karl Curtis for everything they have done for the club over the last decade – they are all fantastic people.

"We wish everyone who is leaving the club the very best for the future."

Lemm continued the club will continue to run the Reserves team – the Rapids – and the Veterans team.