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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Atherton Collieries FC

Alder Street, Atherton, Greater Manchester
Telephone: 01942 884649
Nickname: Colls
North West Counties League

Note The “Colls” are by far the oldest of Atherton’s three senior clubs (‘Town’ and ‘Laburnum Rovers’ being the others), the club having been formed in 1916 by a group of miners representing the six pits within the district as a means of providing welfare for those at home involved in the war effort. When the pits were nationalised the club was given to the people of the town.

The Alder Street ground is as old as the club and from my perspective at least possesses a weary, well-worn charm ... although perhaps not to the less ‘romantic’ visitor!  The original pitch was at ninety degrees to its current position, and over the years there have been a number of changes to the ground.

On the half-way line, immediately behind one of the dugouts that face one another across the pitch, is a wonderful wobbly little stand, with a sloping roof and aptly described by Kerry Miller as “leaning forward as if in prayer for its continued survival”. Adjacent a further more robust structure ten years its junior, built on an area that was previously terraced, using railway sleepers.

Opposite is the clubhouse which has been extended in recent years; and a couple of relatively new covered areas with rudimentary yet perfectly adequate bench seating, having been re-roofed after being partially destroyed by high winds in 1993. As with the cover on the other side, painting the rear wall in the club’s black and white colours set this off well.

Behind the near goal are the changing rooms, protected by wooden planks from wayward balls which makes them look rather uninviting to say the least. Floodlights were erected at Alder Street in 1994, whilst there is also a car park on the clubhouse side. DB