Dyer – who scored 70 goals for the Reds from 1998 to 2003 – took over at the Brierley Road ground in 2018 and named it the Love Life Sports Ground after his charity. The first team competed in the County Senior League for the last two years but has now folded.
Dyer told the Chronicle: “In the last season, we had a lot of games cancelled then Covid kicked in. A few players left us and we didn’t have a big enough squad. We have decided to focus on the younger teams with a view to resurrecting the first team further down the line. We have a really good under 16s team, an under 12s and an under eights. We have a lot of local players from Grimethorpe and Shafton which is important to us.”
The ground had previously been a target for vandals and was in a state of disrepair but Dyer and his team have made improvements while also applying for grants for facilities such as floodlights. He said: “I set myself a five-year plan but we’ve been set back a year by the virus. We are having to start over again but I am 100 per cent committed to the vision of developing this club. The improvement we have made is nothing short of a miracle. No one wanted to touch this place. “I had people warn me to go nowhere near it. But I am so glad I have. Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
Dyer, 45, is a Barnsley fan and was delighted they managed to move out of the Championship relegation zone after 311 days in the bottom three, thanks to injury-time winners in their last two matches. He said: “It was a miracle. On the Monday before they went to Brentford, I prayed for them on Facebook Live. I never pray for wins but I just knew that relegation would have had such a big impact on so many people and cost jobs. I was over the moon. I am really, really, really happy. When it mattered, they came through. I was really happy to see the academy players contributing and I am delighted for the fans. It just ticked every box. Barnsley is a Championship club and, with everything that has happened with Covid, relegation would have been horrible.”
Dyer was at Oakwell when the Reds went into administration in 2002 and the same thing happened this season to Wigan Athletic, which meant they were docked 12 points, keeping Barnsley in the second tier. He said: “What happened to Wigan was favourable for Barnsley. The reality of life is that, if you break rules, there are consequences. I am pretty sure they will bounce back.”