You can’t play – you’re too good!

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Atherton Collieries say they have been told they are no longer invited to participate in the 2017 Bolton Cup – because they are too good!

The four time winners, who were only runners up last season, have been informed the club has been excluded from the competition.

They last won the cup at Bolton’s stadium in 2015, pictured here, but the club’s players won’t get the chance to walk out at the Macron again.

“As a club, we are bitterly disappointed by the decision that the committee of the competition have made,” and Atherton statement read.

“We have won the competition on four occasions; 1974, 1987, 2012 and 2015 Last season, we finished runners-up when Prestwich Heys beat us in the final at The Macron Stadium.

“The reasons given by the committee of the competition focus on the subjective opinion that we are now deemed “too good” to compete against the other sides. This is not a view held by anybody at the football club.

“Some may argue that the competition will benefit from our absence; we certainly believe otherwise.

“We have been long-standing supporters of this competition. We consistently raise a healthy sum of money for the charity. We tend to draw in larger than average crowds for the competition.

“More disappointingly, we have always been more than happy to go the extra mile for the competition, hosting numerous matches and semi-final ties at short notice.”

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About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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