FURIOUS officials at an amateur football club have hit out after burglars attempted to smash and even burn their way into the clubhouse.Offenders tried to lift shutters, broke windows and resorted to attempting to set fire to the front door of Atherton Collieries AFC’s Alder Street ground late last Sunday or in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday.Reports on Atherton Colls’ Facebook page says the clubhouse was then targeted unsuccessfully again just 24 hours later.
The club says the Bank Holiday attack is the latest in a string of incidents at the ground and is pleading with police to do more to protect community groups and businesses in Atherton from anti-social behaviour, saying the clubhouse is not the only building to have been targeted.
The latest attack is also particularly upsetting as it comes after Atherton Colls completed an excellent season on the pitch, winning their league and getting promoted, and also after volunteers carried out improvement work on the clubhouse
Secretary Emil Anderson said: “It’s the constant fear, the thought they are going to get in. Every time you walk into the building your heart is in your mouth.“I’d like to know what they think is in there. There’s only basic stuff in there because of things like this, we dare not store anything in the clubhouse.“We’ve been broken into year in and year out and we’ve got fed up of it. Football wise we’ve had our most successful season in living memory and it’s just demoralising. It’s one step forward two steps back all the time.
“All we want is to be the hub of the community. It makes us feel like throwing the towel in but this football club will have been a major part of Atherton for 100 years next year and we’re not just going to wrap up.”
The club has received several messages of support from the local community on its Facebook page.Greater Manchester Police (GMP) confirmed on Tuesday it had received reports of an attempted burglary at the clubhouse committed between 8pm on Sunday May 24 and 7.30am on Monday May 25.Officers were due to make an appointment to speak to club officials about the incident.Originally published by the Wigan Observer.