How we use Cookies

Looking back with a legend

IT was one of the most memorable debuts in Chester's history - and it happened 22 years ago today.

IT was one of the most memorable debuts in Chester's history - and it happened 22 years ago today.

The date was January 26, 1985, and Stuart Rimmer, a young, goal-hungry striker on loan from Everton, smashed three past Southend United in a 5-1 win for Chester at Sealand Road.

Rimmer, now retired from football and working as a milkman in his home town of Southport, remembers that January afternoon well.

'It only seems like five minutes ago,' he said.

'I scored one on my left foot, one on my right foot and a header.

'I've got all the hat-trick balls I was given but I don't know which ones are which. I never got them autographed or dated or anything like that. They're in the garage!'

Rimmer adapted quickly to life in Division Four (now League Two) - and says his early years as a trainee with Everton stood him in good stead.

'I didn't know what to expect after playing for Everton's reserves, but I found I had a lot more time,' he said.

'I had been used to playing against defenders who played first division football, so I found I had more space and, luckily, everything clicked.'

Rimmer never looked back after his dream debut as a 20-year-old.

He was snapped up on a permanent deal from Everton and went on to become Chester's all-time leading scorer, bagging 185 goals in 361 appearances during two spells with the club.

Retirement beckoned at the age of 34 and, with no contract on the table, Rimmer took work delivering South-port's milk with Bates Dairy - a job he's retained ever since.

He has made only one visit to the Saunders Honda Stadium since hanging up his boots.

It came on Boxing Day last year when he joined former team-mates Gary Bennett and John Kelly for a ceremony to rename the North Terrace in honour of former manager Harry McNally.

Chants of 'Rimmer! Rimmer!' came from the stands as the 42-year-old made his way on to the pitch during the half-time break.

'That was the first time I'd been to a game since I left the club,' said Rimmer, who also played for Watford, Notts County, Walsall and Barnsley.

'The reception surprised me actually. I didn't think they'd remember me. It's eight years ago now since I played for Chester.

'But it was a good gesture for Harry. He deserves it I think.'

Rimmer does not hesitate when asked to pick out a highlight from his time with the Blues.

'It was when I got four goals at Preston on my 21st birthday,' he said. 'You don't forget things like that, do you? It was October 12, 1985, and we won 6-3!'

Soon after that memorable date at Deepdale, however, Rimmer feared his career might be over.

On November 23 he was seriously injured after colliding with Leyton Orient keeper Peter Wells while scoring in a match at Sealand Road.

It was his 21st goal in 23 matches that season, but it came at a huge cost as he did not play again until the following October.

'I just went in for a 50/50 with the keeper and I actually scored, but my knee went and I knew straight away it was a bad injury,' he recalled.

'It took me a good while to get back. It was a good 18 months before I was right again.

'Twenty years ago, things weren't as advanced as they are now. I was only young at the time but that probably helped me. If I'd been older, I don't think I'd have come back.'

Luckily for Chester fans he did make it back - and went on to score more goals for the club than any other player. So is it time Rimmer was honoured with a testimonial?

'I've heard nothing,' said the man himself, 'but when I was there on Boxing Day a few people mentioned it. It would help me but I'm not going to push it.'

 

Football League News

Journalists

David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Reporter
Carmella de Lucia
Reporter
Rachel Flint
Reporter
Contact Us
Full contact details