EMIL ANDERSON'S COLUMN - Atherton Collieries gang is not crazy but is full of characters

First published in Sport

THE lads disembarked from the car aside the Chadderton pitch and walked towards the clubhouse.

It was like the opening scene from Reservoir Dogs.

People stared at the lads, somebody got out of the way sharpish. The Colls Ultras were in town, all five of them.

But the lads didn’t want to be Ultras. Ultra groups are 10-a-penny and we wanted a different name.

Joe Gibbons, who watched us enter the cauldron in total awe, coined the phrase ‘“he Colls Crazy Gang”. We liked it.

The Crazy Gang car now goes to every away fixture. The talk going to the game isn’t of rampaging through the towns of NWCFL Division One, leaving the Crazy Gang calling card.

It isn’t really about the forthcoming match; it’s more just what springs to mind. The subjects discussed as we travelled to Leek on Saturday included the word balderdash, horse meat, dates (the Christmas delicacy), Alf Garnett, the opening of Iceland in Hindsford and the film McVicar.

You have to agree not exactly Mensa-standard conversations – we know our limitations.

Who are my Crazy Gang colleagues? No names, but here’s my spin on them.

Our driver is The Reverend. He doesn’t really get a word in edgeways on the journeys; he seems content to listen to the piffle. However, he has been known to be quite vocal when the game starts and, like us all, he watches the proceedings through black and white-striped tinted spectacles.

He is working on becoming a minister and I can imagine his sermons could be quite passionate, once he gets into his stride.

Lazarus is the godfather of the gang. Small in stature, big in heart. He is also the Crazy Gang treasurer, with a remit to raise enough money to fund a new stretcher for the club.

He got his title by walking without his trademark stick at Holker, albeit briefly. A short-lived miracle.

Slim is Lazarus’s foil. They bicker and gossip like two old-washer women. Slim is known to miss the odd game when David Moyes’ men are at home on a Saturday at 3pm.

He takes some stick about this, but takes it in good heart. He has to.

The Souths is our resident Scouse and has slipped seamlessly into the gang since moving to this parish a few years ago.

He is an erstwhile South Liverpool fan and can regale us stories about them at the drop of a hat. My chosen subject on Mastermind could be South Liverpool now.

So there you have it, the Colls’ Crazy Gang. You kick one, we all limp, but the truth is the majority limp anyway. It is my belief Joe coined the moniker with his tongue firmly in his cheek.

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