Oldham winger Lee Croft has described accusations of racial abuse made against him as the bleakest period of his career.
Croft was cleared by South Yorkshire Police last week following claims he racially abused a ball boy during the 1-1 draw at Sheffield United earlier this month.
"It has been the lowest point of my career and a tough couple of weeks with all the accusations flying about," the 27-year-old told Oldham's official website. "It is one of the worst things you can be accused of and it hasn't been nice for my family and friends.
"I am glad the police have finished their thorough investigations in getting to the bottom of it, which I appreciate. There was no evidence to support the claims of the Sheffield United fans. I can now put it behind me and get on with playing football and not worry about anything else.
"It was a complete surprise because I didn't say anything. When I got called in by the police after the game and told I had been accused of racist abuse, I couldn't believe it. It took a while to sink in and the next couple of weeks were difficult."
He added: "My family and friends know I would never say anything like that and I knew I was innocent. But for people who don't know me, there was always that doubt in the back of their minds."