Vauxhall Motors have been denied guaranteed promotion and an almost certain league title after the North West Counties 2019/20 season was declared null and void.
With all forms of competitive football in Britain currently suspended, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the decision was taken on Thursday by the Football Association to completely scrap the current non-league seasons from Step 3 down to Step 6.
That means Vauxhall, who had already clinched promotion from the NWCL Division One South and were 16 points clear at the top of the league with seven matches remaining, now stay in the same division and will have to start again from scratch whenever the new season commences.
The Motormen had won 27 of their 31 league games, amassed 82 points and recorded a stunning 20 consecutive away victories. But the FA ruling has now consigned the efforts of Mick MaGraa's team to the dustbin.
Vice-chairman Alan Bartlam told the Globe: "I am absolutely gutted by the news which seemed very premature, despite the current and dire situation we are all in at the moment.
"I feel really sorry for the manager, his staff and all the players, who have delighted us throughout this last seven months, along with our band of supporters who have turned up in good numbers.
"I find this amazing – why couldn’t the FA adopt the points-per-game system as they did last season to determine promotion? It begs belief."
Vauxhall were one of just two clubs throughout the country who had effectively already secured promotion when the suspension was announced, alongside Jersey Bulls from the Combined Counties League.
Club chairman Tony Woodley said: "The lack of consideration for amateur football will no doubt be seen by the double standards likely to prevail."