Back in February 2021 FBR reviewed the first edition of Atherton Collieries Supporters Club Fanzine Are You the Clown? A link to the review is here: http://wp.me/p17DV6-4mj
Just over two years later, a third edition is out. It is as with the first issue in an A5 full colour format with an increase from 36 to 52 pages. It is of course centred on events at the Skuna Stadium, Alder Street, the home of the Colls and is therefore primarily aimed at those of a Black & White persuasion. However, there is more than enough interesting content for those interested in football and the non-league game in particular.
In this edition, the articles include the thoughts of a Colls fan who attended the World Cup in Qatar, which whilst interesting would have benefitted from been expanded to include more about the writers thoughts and experiences from what was acknowledged as once of the most controversial hosts down the years. This is followed by one of the longer pieces within the fanzine from Tony Mooney, and is a cracking read. Mooney tells of how he fell out of love of the professional game during his time supporting Bolton Wanderers and how he has rekindled his joy of the sport through following Atherton. His story of the friendship, and connection to the club is both heart-warming and familiar to all those who follow the non-league game.
Elsewhere, the experience and life of match officials are explored through a couple of articles, A week in the life of an EFL Referee from current man-in-the-middle, Darren Handley and Who would be a referee? from retired non-league match official Patrick Hayes, both offering interesting perspectives.
Also amongst the 52 pages is an extensive review of the calendar year 2022 from fan Emily Madden, which charts her highs and lows as Colls settled into life in the NPL Premier Division. There is also a pictorial review of the 2021/22 season featuring the programme covers from the Colls league and cup fixtures from the season.
Throw in articles about how 85 year old fan Eric Lancaster cycled 52 miles to watch Atherton in FA Cup action in Ossett, and one that nearly saw the Wimbledon FC ‘Crazy Gang’ play the Colls to christen the Alder Street floodlights and you can see that there is plenty of content to enjoy.
One thing to finish on and which adorns the back page is a ‘thank you’ dated November 1918 from Fletcher, Burrows & Co. Ltd who owned all the collieries and built cotton mills in Atherton. It praised the efforts of all those employed in the collieries and their contribution to the war effort. What it illustrates and is hugely important to the non-league community then and now, is the importance of community, of roots, of history – something the modern day professional game has long since lost.
This publication is a credit to the Club and the hard work of those involved in putting it together, such as Club Secretary Emil Anderson and Media Team, Rob Clarke and Zach Pierce.
For copies of all the issues to date please visit: https://acfc1916.bigcartel.com/products