One of Murray United's longest serving players has reflected on the abrupt end to his NPL career.
Sean Pye was the club's only foundation player to sign for a sixth season, which unfortunately is now over before it begun.
Pye admitted the pre-season initially felt the same as his first five with the club.
"We broke up for Christmas and I sort of come back to the news that the under-18s and the age groups they specified were struggling for numbers," he said.
"I couldn't really understand how that affected the first team.
"We kept training, doing our sessions and playing games and we got word that it would affect the first team and have knock-on consequences for us.
"It was only recently that we learnt that, but it unfolded as it did from there."
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Pye revealed he parted ways with the club on Wednesday night having feared there would be no senior program.
"If they fixed the issues and got everything in place, give me a ring and I'd come back and play for sure," he said.
"They asked me to come down on the Thursday, but I wasn't really interested.
"Part of it was because I was sinking a bunch of energy into what felt like a black hole.
"It's obviously disappointing for me personally, but it has a bigger impact for football in the region.
"Over my time at Murray, I've sacrificed a bunch of different things in terms of travel and work opportunities, so I think I'm going to look back on those opportunities I passed up on and see what one interests me."
Pye believes there's no shortage of talented youth players in the region, but ultimately not enough have the desire to play at an elite level.
"The depth of those two characteristics just aren't there at that age group because of the distractions that go on. Whether that be school, uni, friends and parties," Pye said.
"The skill and the talent is one thing, the other component is the character and mentality to train three nights a week and sacrifice all the things you need to do at the age, which is tough.
"Rarely do you have both and you need both to play at that level.
"What Murray was trying to was provide football opportunities at this level, but realistically the Albury-Wodonga region didn't have enough people with both characteristics to get it done."
Pye said it won't be impossible for the club to get its senior program up and running again, but expects it will be a medium to long term rebuild.
"Ideally, you would do it incrementally and move the 16s into the 18s and then 18s into the 20s and start back with a young first team," Pye said.
"They'll have to start at the lower State League levels and get promotions.
"The region should reset their targets and aspirations.
"Obviously Murray has got to work closer with AWFA and AWFA closer with Murray to get that to happen."
He added the focus must now shift to the club's junior program, which is thriving with full teams in all age groups up to under-16s.
"Hopefully the club reflects on what went well and what didn't go as well. The junior program is doing rather well," Pye said.
He also feels for newly-appointed senior coach Igor Srbinovski.
"I'm sure if you looked at his role description on a piece of paper versus what he was actually doing, he was doing far more than that when ideally he just wanted to be coaching," Pye said.
"He's worked really hard and it's sad that he didn't get the opportunity he was searching for."
Pye could yet return to his home club Melrose.