Monthly Archives: January 2017

In memory of Rimmo

Due to a mix up, the below piece that the ace Matt Goodwin wrote for us unfortunately didn’t appear in WSB14. We’re putting it on here as it’s far too good for it to be lost. Matt was lucky enough to get to know Norman whilst part of the media team at Oakwell.

RIP Norman. Never forgotten.

Whenever I’m faced with the question ‘Who’s the most famous person you’ve interviewed?’ My answer is – and will always be – ‘Norman Rimmington’.

And of those ex-players I had the pleasure in interviewing, not one had a bad word to say about Rimmo. In fact, everyone had at least one amusing story to tell.

Now, a lot of my time has been spent with my nose in the history books regarding all things Barnsley FC. I happened to mention to Rimmo about what one particular book said about the up-and-coming Eric Winstanley. Barnsley’s bright young centre-half who read the game far beyond his years, was more than comfortable emerging from defence with the ball at his feet and was able to pick out a seemingly difficult pass with relative ease. Sound familiar?

This was around the time that, yes, a certain John Stones was making a name for himself in the first team and the comparison was uncanny…

“What do you reckon, Norm?” I asked. “Do you see a similarity between Stonesy now and what Eric was like back then?”

“Well yeah, you’re reight, kid…except Eric wanted to feight every f****r too!”

His profanities weren’t rare but they were always perfectly executed and certainly warranted.

“Where are you two going?” he exclaimed to Anderson de Silva and Hugo Colace, both donning bright-coloured boots on their way past the laundry room to the training field. “Are you playing football or going f*****g dancing?”

I’m not sure Norm’s dialect translated perfectly for the South Americans at times, but they certainly got the gist of this particular message.

One such thing the history books didn’t seem to pick up on was Norm’s successful – albeit brief – caretaker management stint of the first team when Johnny Steele (the manager) was in hospital during the sixties. The preparation and management of the team was left entirely up to Norm for a handful of games and after winning all of the matches, he was practically offered the job.

“Tha’s gorra Manager…fella’s in f*****g hospital, man! He’s t’manager and am stopping as t’coach.” That was Norm’s riposte, after being told by the Chairman he’d ‘love him to have the job’. This pretty much sums up his loyalty.

Many will remember our League Cup Quarter-Final tie at Anfield back in 1982. Norm’s memories weren’t really about the fog or the daunting task of facing a team full of internationals. “Get into ’em! They’re f*****g rubbish, these!” he shouted at the Reds from the sideline as they kicked off. Out of the opposition dugout popped Joe Fagan, Liverpool’s Assistant Manager.
“Who said that? Who’s saying we’re rubbish?”
“ME!” he replied, bold as brass and proud as punch.
“Oh, right.”

Trevor Aylott remembered that after Allan Clarke or Norman Hunter had said their piece to the team in the dressing room before a match, that Norm would then be asked to address the lads.

“What would he say, Trev?” I asked excitedly.
“Well, you know…’give ’em some f*****g hammer’…that sort of thing.”

It would be easy for me to say that he had one of the finest footballing brains I knew of, but I would be telling the truth. He knew his stuff. The wiser managers and players we’ve had always consulted Norm when in need of any tactical or general advice.

When I had the pleasure of filming a pre-Wembley video to inspire the lads to victory (twice!) he called it on both occasions.

I’ll never forget his Millwall speech. “This is the one that matters…but we’ve got far better players than them. All they do is crack it up t’field and hump it up, they’ve no football at all.”

He was more than confident. He knew we’d get the job done. And we did, of course.

I still haven’t got to grips with the fact that I can no longer toss the odd obscure question his way regarding a reserves match he oversaw in the 50s, laugh with him about the time he went chest-to-chest in fury with Harry Gregg or even just to say ‘Oreight, Norm.’

WSB walks to Derby in memory of Ashley ‘Selly’ Salkeld

On the 3rd of March, 30+ idiots will set off from Oakwell on a 50 mile plus walk to Derby to raise funds for CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably – in memory of Ashley Salkeld. Here, his good friend Beth Deakin @bethdeak tells us why it’s such an important charity. If you want to join us, email for more details. You can donate at

In late October 2016 we lost our mate Ashley David Salkeld – Selly – far too soon. He was 25 years old. He was an absolute top lad, who injected mischief and laughter into just about any situation. As an opening that seems like a cliché – the type of thing people say when someone passes away, especially when they are young. But it’s the simplest way to describe Selly. He was larger than life; the constant centre of attention everywhere he went and his wicked sense of humour was impossible not to laugh with, at and love.

However, behind the joker was a broken lad that had personal battles linking to his mental health. His death came as a huge shock to people he loved – his family, partner and crowds of friends, who continually looked to Selly for a good time.

Tragically, Selly has become part of one of the most horrendous statistics I have seen – 76% of suicides in the UK are male. The biggest killer of men under the age of 45 is suicide. Why?

One explanation is that lads don’t talk about stuff. The deep stuff, hard stuff or even the little stuff that does your head in. The strong, silent male. This is one cliché that we just cannot accept anymore.

Promoting mental health services, awareness and well-being is paramount. Since Selly left us, our incredibly masculine ex-mining community has come together like we have never seen before and lads have started to talk.

Although mental health services exist in our town, what needs to be encouraged is something incredibly simple. Being frank, open and honest about mental health will help so many in need, who are being strong yet silent.

This is why we aim to campaign and promote mental health and well-being in our town – particularly to GET LADS TALKING!

Selly was the ultimate sportsman, who tried just about every sport going, and he was annoyingly good at everything! This is why we are determined to use sport as a vice, to get people talking and raise as much money as possible. Our initial aim is to raise £14,000 – a target based on Selly’s shirt number. This is to be distributed to between mental health charities like CALM and to promote and set up local initiatives.

Thank you so much to all of you for taking part in and supporting this immense and crackers walk! Of course the money you raise will be a tremendous help, but do us one thing – get talking about stuff!

Selly famously changed his team when we were kids – from an Owl to a Red. So I suppose all that’s left to say is, (as much as it pains me!) YOU REDS!!