"Its quite confusing" Mcheal starts with "There were two Mike Cleggs who both played for United and for Wigan but I'm not the one who played in champions league." added the Atherton Collieries manager. "I've always been involved in football in some capacity after starting in the youth section with Nobby Stiles and Paul McGuiness". Unfortunately for Clegg things still never got going at Wigan with injuries and a heart op to curtail his involvement in the professional game and soon after he moved to now league two side Morecambe. " In a short space of time I just decided to play with my mates in Atherton and at 22 my coaching started"
It was by chance as Clegg added "I was injured and the reserves didn't have a coach so I jumped in at the deep end" "before I knew it I was getting a promotion" "I knocked it on the head and started playing again at Pennington Fc and who would of guessed the same happened again" I spent years there after 2 spells at the club" Clegg was busy also coaching in Abu Dhabi scouting for Bolton Wanderers taking in local games and building a knowledge of the local leagues but the call to counties level only happened last season at Colly's neighbours Atherton Laburnum Rovers where he spoke highly of the chairwoman Jayne "She was fantastic with me after seeing my good work at Pennington it was well documented I was going through a hard time and could of easily ended up in prison but fortunately that never happened and she showed faith purely for football reasons and a difficult off the pitch year with limited resources occurred"
Clegg then got the call from Collys and it is here were things started looking up for the former Man Utd youth reamer " I added to my family little Louie Clegg was brought into the world and on the same day Radcliffe knocked us out on penalties in the Fa cup" he also added " Things couldn't be going much better on the pitch we are still in all the local cups and the squad have a real local emphasis 13 of the squad live within a 3 mile radius of the ground and the ambitions are high we have scored 136 goals this season keeping 16 clean sheets"
Clegg is enjoying his time at Atherton Colls and the local emphasis has given the younger players the chance to train with the first team Clegg also added " We hope to add some silverware this season" Its safe to say we at nlffg think they should in 21 games in the league they've lost once and could well be on for a double or treble this year.
After much debate in recent years over the grassroots game Clegg added " Grassroots is vital we do need to improve facilities and coaches but the competeive edge is there its better than the academy approach there are some real winners at grassroots level"
Clegg also added on the Nlffg TV adventure " The TV channel is a great idea exposure for everyone I think this has been a long time coming and as non league football is growing non league players love watching themselves and I'm sure the managers will defiantly be up for an interview! "
Clegg has been through the up and downs of football with injuries and a heart op to boot and at 31 he is one of the youngest managers in the UK and youngest in the North West Counties league I'm sure its only a matter of time before the professional ranks come calling again and give this amazing footballing and family man the chance he deserves after been robbed of a career as a player as a youngster through no fault of his own.
And we at nlffg wish Clegg and Atherton Collieries all the best through the rest of season.