Football veteran Steve Toyne claims an ‘anti-Sheffield’ prejudice and vandalism helped persuade him to quit Dinnington Town, after 13 years at the non-league club.
Toyne, aged 69, says he was forced to effectively close down the NCEL Division One side because of anti-social behaviour and a lack of funds.
A new club - with no direct links to the old one - has now been set up in the Central Midlands League North without Toyne, who left to manage Hallam FC.
Toyne claims that despite its proximity to Sheffield, a small minority of Dinnington people did not like city people involved locally.
Going back 13 years, he claims: “We weren’t accepted. One or two came up and said: ‘No matter what you do we are going to destroy it when your back is turned.’ People told us they hated Sheffield people.”
Toyne claims there were sickening levels of vandalism, triggered by “animosity towards Sheffield people.”
He estimated there were 10 major vandalism attacksover the years, including the blowing up and torching of dug outs.
He said on video at thestar.co.uk “Kids used firework powder to make two “bombs” and blew the dug outs up. They could have killed themselves.”
He was “saddened” by the hooliganism, but got through the experience by “being determined and single-minded.” But the last attack, at the end of last season, helped prompt him to move on.
Toyne stressed there were others from the locality who had helped him and had the interests of the now-defunct club at heart - and said there was no bad blood from him: “I wish them well.”
Toyne’s reign will be seen differently by some.
One Anston web blogger wrote: “Steve Toyne may have done a lot for the football club, but he didn’t engage the local public and youth set up.
“I realise that there was vandalism at the ground. There are an element of unruly people in Dinnington, as there is in any community.”
Toyne has re-built his new Hallam side - they beat Sheffield FC recently -and hopes it will be more competitive this coming season.