Frank and Steve are photographed earlier this season (photo: Darren Nuttall)
Members of Atherton Collieries Football Club were extremely saddened last Monday to learn of the death of ex player and Chairman Steve Payne. If ever there was a "Colls Mon", it was Steve, who over the years filled the void in practically every committee position. He had been hospital bound for quite a while, but his passing still came as a shock to his family and friends.
One of his ex team mates Brian Hindle tells the tale of the circumstances prior to his signing at Colls. After carrying all before them in the league and cup in the 1950's and 1960's, age took it's toll and they went through a lean spell. Steve was playing for Hindsford at the time alongside Day Evans, George Wegryzin, Phil Theckston and Taylor. With other news signings Stuart Hudson, Alan Hilton, Alan Gregory, Andy Funnell and numerous others they brought enthusiasm and energy back to Alder House. The squad of players more than held their own in the Lancashire Combination and Cheshire County League.
When Steve's playing career ended however, he threw himself in a job on the committee with the same passion. At one period the club only had four active committee members but his committment was still there for all to see. Although he wasn't actively involved on the Committee side over the last decade or so there was still no more parochial Colls Mon anywhere. He was so proud of the team's rise over the last few years and was at his happiest watching the lads standing in his usual position near the top corner flag on the stand side of the ground.