Atherton Collieries cult hero James Kirby has returned to the club.

The striker is perhaps best remembered for his stunning hat-trick in a 4-1 win away at Runcorn Linnets in September 2015. He was last glimpsed by Colls fans away at Cleethorpes for that FA Vase game, whilst watching the club as a supporter, being serenaded as ‘the only Colls player to come from Congleton.’

Most recently, he has been representing Sandbach United in the Division One South of the North-West Counties, scoring goals for fun. He has bagged 17 league goals already this season, including a five-goal haul against Cheadle Town and hat-tricks against Cheadle Heath Nomads and Ellesmere Rangers. An FA Vase goal against Atherton LR and a brace to knock Tranmere Rovers out of the Cheshire Senior Cup at Prenton Park also contributing to his 24 goal total so far.

Coupled with this, Kirby has been awarded back-to-back Macron Player of the Month Awards for September and October, this led to inevitable interest from other clubs.

Following training on Thursday, he joined the rest of the squad in distributing leaflets around Atherton to promote the team’s upcoming games.

Speaking about his return early in the week, manager Micheal Clegg said:

“James was with us a few years ago and was a young lad then; the commute was too big an ask. If the situation was different he would never have left. After keeping a close eye on his development, now is the right time to bring him back.”

“He is 21, a big strong lad who can score goals. He will provide great competition to the forwards. He knows what Colls are about. We can’t wait to have James and his family back at the club. He will go straight into Saturday’s squad.”


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