Atherton Collieries A.F.C.
|Full name||Atherton Collieries Association Football Club|
|Ground||Alder House, Atherton|
|League||Northern Premier League Division One West|
|2017–18||Northern Premier League Division One North, 10th of 22|
Atherton Collieries Association Football Club is a football club based in Atherton, Greater Manchester, England. The club are currently members of the Northern Premier League Division One West and play at Alder House. They are full members of the Lancashire County Football Association.
Between 1919 and 1965 Atherton Collieries were winners of the Bolton Combination ten times. By 1964–65 they had won the Lancashire FA Amateur Shield six times, a record which is still unsurpassed. They are nicknamed "Colls".
The club was established in 1916 by miners from the six pits in Atherton Urban District with the aim of raising money for locals involved in the war effort. After World War I the club joined the Bolton Combination, winning the title in their first season. The season also saw them win the Lancashire FA Amateur Shield, beating Dumers Lane 3–2 after extra time. They joined the Lancashire Alliance in 1921, and won the Shield again in 1923 with a 4–1 against Barnoldswick Town. The club later returned to the Bolton Combination, winning the league in 1936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39 and 1940–41, followed by another Lancashire FA Amateur Shield in 1942 after Royal Engineers were beaten 3–2. Another title came in 1944–45, after which the club joined the Manchester League for the 1945–46 season.
Their first season in the new league saw them finish third and win the Shield for a fourth time with a 3–2 win over Moss Rovers In 1948 the club joined the West Lancashire League, in which they spent two seasons before joining Division Two of the Lancashire Combination in 1950. However, after finishing sixteenth (out of 22) in 1950–51 and second-from-bottom in 1951–52 they left the league to rejoin the Bolton Combination. Back in the local league, they won the league title again in 1956–57 (also winning the Shield, beating Burnley Albion 3–2 after extra time), 1958–59, 1960–61 and 1964–65 (combined with another Shield win, this time by beating Breightmet United 6–1). In 1971 they rejoined the Lancashire Combination, which was now a single division.
Following their only top-half finish in the league in 1977–78, the club switched to the new Division Two of the Cheshire County League, where they failed to break into the top half of the table during their four years in the league. At the end of the 1981–82 season the league merged with the Lancashire Combination to form the North West Counties League, with Atherton placed in Division Three. This started a spell of relative success for the club, who finished in the top half of the table for four successive seasons, before winning the title in 1986–87 and earning promotion to Division Two.
After nine seasons in Division Two, Atherton were runners-up in 1995–96, resulting in promotion to Division One. In 2001–02 they won the Goldline Trophy with a 1–0 win against Charnock Richard at the Reebok Stadium. Division One was renamed the Premier Division in 2008, but the following season saw the club finish bottom of the Division, leading to relegation to Division One. Following their demotion, the club consistently finished in the top six in the division and won the Division One Trophy in 2010–11. After winning the division in 2014–15 they were promoted back to the Premier Division. In 2015–16 they won the League Cup, beating Colne 5–1 in the final. The following season saw the club win the Premier Division, earning promotion to Division One North of the Northern Premier League. They won the League Challenge Cup in 2017–18, beating Coalville Town 2–1 in the final.
The club have played at Alder House since their establishment. At some point during their tenure, the pitch was rotated 90º, and floodlights were installed in 1994. One stand was described "leaning forward as if in prayer for its continued survival", before it was demolished in 2007. Next to its former location is a stand made from railway sleepers, whilst there are also small covered stands with bench seating.
- Northern Premier League
- Challenge Cup winners 2017–18
- North West Counties League
- Premier Division champions 2016–17
- Division One champions 2014–15
- Division Three champions 1986–87
- League Cup winners 2015–16
- Division One Trophy winners 2010–11
- Bolton Combination
- Champions 1919–20, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1940–41, 1944–45, 1956–57, 1958–59, 1960–61, 1964–65
- Lancashire County FA Amateur Shield
- Winners 1919–20, 1922–23, 1941–42, 1945–46, 1956–57, 1964–65
- Bolton Hospital Cup
- Winners 1973–74, 1986–87, 2011–12, 2014–15
- Record attendance: 3,300 in the Bolton Combination in the 1920s
- Best FA Cup performance: Third qualifying round, 1994–95
- Best FA Vase performance: Third round, 1992–93, 2015–16
- Atherton Collieries FC Pyramid Passion
- History Atherton Colleries A.F.C.
- The Lancashire Alliance 1980-1935 Non-League Matters
- The Manchester League 1920-1960 Non-League Matters
- West Lancashire League 1905-1954 Non-League Matters
- Atherton Collieries at the Football Club History Database
- Colne beaten in MEN United cup final Lancashire Telegraph, 11 May 2016
- Mike Williams & Tony Williams (2012) Non-League Club Directory 2013, p720 ISBN 978-1-869833-77-0
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