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This guy puts even Gordon Guthrie to shame!


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Norman Rimmington: Barnsley's ultimate football servant

By Ben Dirs BBC Sport


Norman Rimmington clasps my hand between his. The hard, enveloping hands of a goalkeeper, mechanic and fitter. Hands that have pounded shoulders and thighs on the treatment table. Hands that have tended the Oakwell pitch and scrubbed clean mountains of muddy kit. Hands of a Barnsley fixture and legend.


Hands that signed a contract for £3 a week in 1946. Take it or leave it or head back down pit. Hands that grasped thin air as the late, great Sir Tom Finney lashed a hat-trick past him in 1947. Hands that stayed loyal through thin and through thick. But mainly through thin.


"Tom Finney were the finest player I ever saw," says Norman of the Preston North End and England great, whose funeral takes place on Thursday.


"When Barnsley played Preston in the FA Cup, it were no score at half-time. Start of second half, our centre-half said to our left-back: 'Give me five minutes with him, I'll sort him out.' They beat us 6-0 and he scored three of them.


"It were his change of pace, he was so quick over 10 yards. He could play outside-left, he could play outside-right, he could play centre-forward. Tom Finney were every bit as good as Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo."


Better, therefore, than Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, who recently signed a new deal worth £299,997 a week more than Norman's first contract with the Tykes.


"He's going to earn £85m in five years," says Norman in his thick Yorkshire drawl. "What do I think about it? I'll be honest, I can't get me head round it."


Norman's sporting life


•Born: 29 Nov 1923, Staincross (nr Barnsley)

•Occupation: Pit fitter & mechanic

•1946-47: Barnsley FC (27 appearances)

•1947-52: Hartlepools Utd (127 appearances)

•1952-61: Barnsley A team coach

•1961-1972: Head coach & physio

•1972-1978: Groundsman & physio

•1978-1980: Assistant manager & physio

•1980-1985: Physio

•1985-present: Kitman & laundry


After three seasons with Hartlepools United, as they were then, and a stint in non-League football, Norman hung up his mud-stained boots at the age of 29. Two broken metatarsals, five broken fingers, a broken leg, a dislocated shoulder. A hero to supporters in the stands, fodder to men smoking cigars in the boardroom.


"I broke me leg at Mansfield and were in plaster for about 15 weeks," says Norman. "I got the letter saying 'thank you for your services - blah, blah, blah - but we're not engaging you for next season'. I was in limbo. In the end I says to wife, 'that's it, I've had enough'. So I packed in."


Norman kept his hand in on the training ground and in 1961 he was appointed first-team coach. "I was a fitter at pit," says Norman. "But my appetite for coaching had been whetted. So I took coaching job for £10 a week less."


Read the rest here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/26351353



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