DUNBAR United will leave junior football “with a heavy heart” this summer after the club applied to join the East of Scotland League from next season, meaning no East Lothian teams will be left in the juniors set-up next season.

That is the view of the club’s manager Geoff Jones, who told Courier Sport this week that the uncertainty over the juniors set-up for next season had led to the club’s decision.

The Seasiders confirmed at the weekend that they had applied to the East of Scotland League to join a host of other clubs – including Musselburgh Athletic, Haddington Athletic and Tranent Juniors – in making the switch.

They will join the county’s existing senior outfits, Preston Athletic and Ormiston, in the league next year.

An announcement is expected soon on the structure of the East of Scotland League for 2018/19.

Jones said: “The decision to apply to join the East of Scotland was collectively made by the committee, management and players last week.

“We have watched over the last few months as rumours of a mass exodus in the East Region turned into a reality.

“It was a decision that we did not arrive at lightly, and in all honesty was made with a heavy heart as junior football is in the DNA of Dunbar United.

“However, in order to secure the long-term future of the club, it was a decision that we had to make and in doing so we can now look forward with excitement to competing within the pyramid system.

“The uncertainty of the league set-up in junior football next season has made it impossible to attract new players and new committee members.”

On the prospect of five derby matches next season, Jones added: “Our revenue relies on the support of the local community in sponsorship, advertising and, of course, gate receipts on match days. Local derby days play a big part in that, and within any new junior football set-up we would not have a single local derby. These would have been replaced with more trips to Fife and Dundee, and cost the club in the region of £6,000 per season in buses.”

Secretary Malcolm Jones said: “We made the decision last week – if we beat Thornton Hibs we could have ended up in the revamped Superleague but it’s got nothing to do with that.”