LEYTON FC have quit non-league football, ending 143 years in the game.

The plug was pulled on London’s oldest club by director Louise Sophocleous.

She emailed a resignation letter last week to Ryman League chairman, Alan Turvey.

“If I regretted it, then I would not have done it,” she told Guardian Series Sport.

“I thought long and hard about this and I have been talking with my family about it for a long time.”

Dismay has greeted the news of Leyton FC’s passing from senior non-league football.

A trophy final at Wembley and a pile of silverware won over decades is Leyton FC’s grand heritage.

“No-one wants to see a club go out of business, especially not a club like Leyton,” said chairman Turvey.

“This should sit very heavily on the minds of the people at the club.”

But Sophocleous was defiant. She said she simply did not have the time for the club, calling it a “one-woman show.”

“It’s the time factor which was the thing for me. The club is all me and as important as it is, I’ve decided to do this.

”I am devastated that it came to this. I tried my hardest for the club, but it’s been a one-woman show.”

Non-payment of around £700 in subscriptions sparked the club’s suspension from Ryman one north, last week.

Soon afterwards, Sophocleous’ resignation email landed in Turvey’s inbox.

But she said that the club does not owe money to the Ryman League.

But the cash dispute will now hamper future attempts to return Leyton to the non-league game.

The League is set to oppose any bid for as long as the debt is outstanding, Turvey has said.

Youth football is the future of Leyton FC not the senior game, said Sophocleous.

“I want to give my all to the youth side and football in the community,” she said.

Sophocleous added money had nothing to do with her decision to withdraw from the League.

“Money has always been an issue, but it was not that which stopped us,” she said.

The entire playing staff and boss Gordon Boateng quit last week, along with members of the board.

Chairman Tony Hardy resigned after 12 years at the club.

“Everyone did their best to keep the club going and going, but the funding was not there,” he said.

“Day to day costs were unaffordable.

“The Christmas period was when we found out that we would not be able to keep it going. The weather had a big impact.”

Sophocleous' decision marks the end of a century and a half of footballing tradition in east London.

Hardy lives around the corner from the Lilywhites' ground at the Lea Bridge Road stadium.

He branded the end of an era “a travesty.”

“It’s shocking," said Hardy. “It’s not something I ever wanted to see happen.”

Get the view of ex-boss Gordon Boateng, online at www.guardian-series.co.uk/sport.