Incredulous Garry Haylock slated his own fans after Nevin Saroya was booed on to the pitch during Saturday's FA Cup tie at Oxford United and said he would rather play in an empty stadium than have it happen again.
The Hayes & Yeading United manager admitted he did not hear the reaction at the time, which happened when he sent on his club captain as a late replacement, but was appalled when he was told about it following United's 2-0 defeat.
Saroya has always polarised opinion at Church Road but in the past Haylock has always backed the 27-year-old because of what he brings to the squad both on and off the pitch - and this week was no different.
"I don't see the reason for it and I think it's absolutely disgraceful and I'd rather not have those people at the games," commented Haylock. "It beggars belief.
"If you've paid moneyyou want your team to do well and if there's one thing that will not help someone play well it's that. I'd rather have nobody at the games than have people boo their own players.
"I think Nev's big enough to take it without it affecting him but it just doesn't make sense to me.
"The club has come such a long way and we're getting things right on the pitch and off it and then this happens. It's just pathetic and I cannot understand it.
"I've always tried to see the motivation but I don't see what they're trying to achieve, even if he was the worst player in the world, and last year he missed six games and we lost five of them."
Last year Saroya was almost ever-present but he attracted flak then and has continued to do so this season.
He endured a difficult start to this year, which was not helped by a pre-season injury that meant he was not as fit as he could be, but he was pressed into action because United were short of central defenders.
Saroya admitted he had to improve and he has struggled to break back into the side since Matt Ruby and Tom Cadmore forged a formidable partnership, although last week he still became only the fifth player to make 50 appearances for United.
Haylock went on: "If we were bottom of the table and playing terrible football and spending a lot of money, I could understand how it could happen.
"But we've got the lowest budget in the top 10 and we're punching so far above out weight, how can anybody say we're not doing a good job?
"What I want to stress is I know it's a very small minority.
"I don't think I'm the fans' favourite and I will probably never be and I can understand that, but if you're doing a good job you should not be booed for it.
"Although Nev hasn't played a lot he's still part of the squad and the fact that he's worked hard and kept fit means he's driving everybody else on, even when he's not playing."
The unsavoury incident also prompted United Supporters' Club chairman Lee Hermitage to write an open letter to the Gazette.
United are at Church Road on Saturday for the visit of Havant & Waterlooville, who upset Conference high flyers Crawley 3-0 in the FA Cup to earn a home tie with Brent-ford, having made headlines last year when they twice led at Liverpool.
Their league form is not so clever though and United hope to hand them a fifth successive Conference South defeat, although Haylock's side has not won a league game since AFC Wimbledon six weeks ago.
The manager is confident of having a new player on the books who may come straight into the side for the clash.
Meanwhile, left-back Leon Solomon is to see a specialist on Friday to get the all-clear on his broken ankle and may be on the bench, while Toby Little plays for the reserves tonight (Wednesday) and there is good news too on striker Stafforde Palmer (broken ankle), who is three weeks ahead of schedule in his recuperation, although he is still several weeks away from returning.