Ashton Athletic Football Club was founded in 1968 and playing in the Wigan Sunday League – winning every Division in consecutive seasons and many cup competitions before switching to the Warrington League on Saturdays where similar success was sustained.
The Club developed Brocstedes Park and was admitted to the Lancashire Combination, before becoming a founder member of the North West Counties League when the Combination merged with the Cheshire league in 1982. Unfortunately, financial constraints prevented the required ground improvements to be completed, and the Club was relegated into the Manchester league Division One in 1986.
The drop of two leagues resulted in the majority of the playing staff moving to other club's and for numerous years the club endeavored to re-build. Players came and went, lacking the Club loyalty that had brought success to the Club in the 1970's and early 80's until the Committee embraced an ambitious youth development policy in 1999.
The Club is now at the end of a ten-year development plan to enhance its recreational facilities and expand the Club, in particular its junior section. Eight years ago, the Club had two teams, 50 members, one mediocre pitch with dilapidated clubhouse and changing rooms.
Since then the Club members have worked tirelessly to progress the Club within its means, and with some help from external grant sources. Assistance from the Football foundation, Awards for All programme, and Wigan Council enabled a series of improvements to be completed. The main pitch was re-drained, a second pitch acquired/improved, new changing rooms and Clubhouse built, disabled access provided and other improvements made to the grounds.
More recently the ground has been brought up to the necessary Ground Grading for re-entry into the NWCFL, in time for the start of the 2006/7 season and further inprovements have provided additional seating.
The 2008/09 season also saw further progression of the Club, having been promoted to the Premier Division of the Vodkat North West Counties League. We were again able take to the national stage, having been accepted in the FA Cup competition after last season’s debut in the FA Vase which proved very lucrative for the Club, progressing through 3 stages and beating 2 teams from higher leagues in the process. The previous season also saw cup success for the Club retaining the Atherton Charity Cup at the end of the season.
Following an impressive 6th place finish in the 2008/09 season, the Yellows struggled in the league for the next 4 seasons, finishing in the bottom three of the league in three of the next four seasons. 21st (09/10), 22nd (10/11), 14th (11/12) and 20th (12/13).
Jimmy McBride, who took over the reins midway through the 12/13, left the club when the season ended and the club took the unusual step in bringing in a trio of managers, Jay Foulds, Ben Kay and Dougie Pitts. Jay and Ben were brought in from Wigan Robin Park and Dougie came in following a break from the game.
The trio needed to completely rebuild the squad for the 2013/14 season and made an excellent start to their managerial careers creating club history with a 6th place finish and beating Maine Road 1-0 to win the League Challenge Cup at Curzon Ashton.
More club history was made in the 2014/15 season with a highest ever 5th place finish in the league, conceding only 38 goals and losing only 7 league games that season and the Yellows were successful in the Wigan Cup, beating Newburgh Harrock United 5-1 in the final at Brocstedes Park.
The 2015/16 season saw the retirement of Jay Foulds and he was replaced in the Ashton Athletic goal by Martin Pearson. Unfortunately, there were no cup heroics in that season but there was a solid 7th place finish in the league.
The 2016/17 saw another top 10 finish with the club ending the season in 9th place, but the club made history in the cups reaching the 2nd qualifying round for the first time ever, losing 5-0 against Halifax Town and winning the Lancashire Cup for the first time, coming from a goal down to win 2-1 against Radcliffe Borough. Lee Vaughan scoring the winner in the final minute of the game.
With the impact the management trio have made at the club in the 4 seasons that they have been in charge of the first team, the success was noticed from clubs at a higher level and following the 2016/17 season, Ben Kay left his role as joint manager to take up the role as assistant manager to Simon Howarth at Clitheroe FC, where he will link up again former Yellows captain, Ian Rowlands.
A new vision for the Club is under discussion to further develop the Club and these will include plans for improvements to the access road, new junior changing rooms, additional playing fields for the junior section and a proposed girls/ladies section. The main ground is also scheduled for enhancement works with additional covered spectator areas.
The Club is a voluntary organisation run by a Committee of 14 alongside approximately 25 coaches and managers. Any money raised by the Club has been ploughed back into improving the facilities and developing the youth section.
The Club now has a total membership of more than 400. We have 9 junior teams consisting of approximately 160 children who take advantage of the improvement of our now excellent facilities, whilst hundreds of children and adults from opposition teams also benefit from the continually improving facilities.
The Club is keen to maintain the pace of development of the club and future plans will enable increased activity at the Club, additional Junior teams and a much safer and secure environment in particular for spectators and Children.
The Club was awarded the FA Charter Standard in 2013 and an intensive Coach Education Programme is well under way.