Stuart Rimmer Interview

Stuart Rimmer was born on 12th October 1964, in Southport and played for 7 league clubs mainly for Chester City whom in two spells played 360 league games and scored 134 goals making him that club's all time record goal scorer. There were transfer fees paid in excess of £200,000 for his services and he enjoyed just over two years with Walsall before he was on the move again.

Stuart takes up the story of his early interest in football and how he got started in his career...

" I started out supporting Preston North End but later supported Everton and was discovered by scout Ray Minshall. One or two clubs were interested like West Brom but really there was only one club I wanted to join - Everton."

He rose through the ranks quite quickly and got his chance in 1982. " I was delighted to make my Everton debut at just 17 years of age against Swansea then a few days later I played against Leeds United. Not many were breaking into first teams then at that age although I knew my chances would be limited competing with the likes of Adrian Heath and Andy Gray etc. That summer I was called up for the England Youth team and played in three matches in Norway under Graham Taylor."

He was destined only to play one more first team game for The Toffees, in December 1983 away at Wolves and with his chances so limited asked to have his name circulated to other clubs and he got his wish in January 1985 and joined Chester City who were struggling at the foot of Division Four.

" Mick Speight was their manager at the time and I got off to a great start, scoring a hat trick on my debut against Southend." By the end of that season, he was comfortably Chester's leading scorer with 14 goals helping them to a mid table spot.

By the end of that season he had joined them in a permanent move for a nominal fee financed by Peter Zelem's £12,500 move to Wolves. The following season, 1985 -6, started off brilliantly for Stuart who banged in an amazing 21 goals in the first 23 league and cup games as his club raced to the top of the table. This included 4 goals on his 21st birthday against Preston. However the following month it turned sour for the prolific striker, "I got a bad injury sustained against Leyton Orient when I collided with their keeper Peter Wells. It was a 50-50 challenge and I knew it was a bad knock right away, but I still scored!"

He was out for the rest of the season and Chester struggled a bit without him but managed to go up as runners up. In fact he didn't return till October but still managed a further 13 goals. He was back to his brilliant best in 1987-8 and the scouts were flocking to see him each week as he finished the season with 27 goals to his name.

He moved to First Division Watford in 1988 signed by Steve Harrison for £210,000 (with half going to Everton) and he signed off in his first spell at Chester by scoring 3 times in the last 10 minutes against Gillingham. The Watford move didn't work out for him despite scoring on his debut against Chelsea and after 10 games moved on to Notts County for a transfer fee of £200,000. John Barnwell secured his services at Meadow Lane and again this move didn't work out for the player with 2 goals in his 4 games however in February 1989 he joined Barnwell who had just taken over at Fellows Park. He recalled his debut was against Chelsea and when asked about the penalty he remarked, "I don't remember much about it!"

He recalled his away debut the following week, when he scored a hat trick at Sunderland. "That result was amazing especially in light of the 0-7 defeat the previous week. I had time for John Barnwell who was a pretty good manager although I know he wasn't too popular with Walsall's fans!" He finished that inevitable relegation season with a creditable 8 goals in 20 games and observed the exciting 3-3 draw against Man City that saw his new strike partner Andy Saville score twice on his debut.

1989 -90 of course saw relegation again to the basement and he notched 10 goals in his 38 league games plus another 7 in the cups, which included a hat trick v Southend in the Leyland Daf so again not bad going under the circumstances. Stuart enjoyed playing at Fellows Park and like most of us, was sad to see it go.

He became the first Walsall player to score in a league game at Bescot Stadium against Torquay United and again despite it being a struggling season, raced to 18 goals by the end of December. As we all recall, the club was in a financial mess and we had to sell. Of his departure, Stuart observed, "It all happened so quickly - very quickly. I didn't really want to leave myself as I was happy there however it became very apparent the board wanted me out as soon as possible." Of Kenny Hibbitt's management, his answer was similar to that of Chris Marsh, noting he was a decent enough bloke but got frustrated when the players were not on the same wavelength as himself. His record for Walsall in all competitions was 46 goals in 106 games.

His move to second division Barnsley on deadline day earned Walsall FC £150,000 to keep the club afloat however the move to Oakwell was not a happy one and he returned to Chester for his second spell a few months later and it was as if he'd never been away, scoring another 67 goals in 245 league games alone. A terrific record which is still spoke of by Chester's fans and he is seen as a bit of a legend there. He noted Harry McNally as the best manager he played under, having excellent man-manager skills. Colin Calderwood and Keith Curle being the most difficult opponents he faced.

Stuart said he has more to do with his ex team mates at Walsall than Chester and spoke glowingly of drinking sessions with the likes of Kenny and Rico etc where somewhere along the line his nickname of 'The Bat' comes from! The King George seemed a popular haunt and he remarked, " A few years ago I was on an Everton supporters coach going to a game at Villa Park and we pulled up at this pub in Walsall and I thought it looked a bit familiar - it was The George!"

Stuart chuckled when I recalled the chant we used to use that included the line 'His name is Stuart Rimmer, much better than Stevie Bull' etc! He was a bit humbled when I mentioned that many of us wished we could have seen him play for our club in a more successful period. Its such a pity as I'm sure we would have enjoyed success with his goals. He has been a milkman for the last 22 years in and around the Southport area, seems to play snooker nearly every day and when required still plays cricket now and again for a local team.

He expressed a wish to come down to a game next season and enjoy a bit of hospitality at the Railway Club. I'm told its wine not so much lager these days. I'm sure a few glasses will be lined up for the lad!

Stuart Rimmer. Goal King 1989 - 1991

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