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A-Z of West Midlands Football

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: March 05, 2014

  • Fred Rinder

  • Jimmy Rimmer

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ALF RIDYARD was a dogged centre-half who made 34 senior appearances for Albion during the mid-1930s.

Born in Shafton, Cudworth in March 1908, he played for his school and also for Hemsworth Rovers and South Kirby Boys' club before joining Barnsley as an amateur in June 1929, turning professional in September 1929.

He was transferred to Albion for £900 in June 1932 and remained at The Hawthorns until March 1938 when he switched to Queen's Park Rangers for £625. He retired in May 1948 and later acted as assistant manager/coach at QPR, having played as a guest for Chelsea, Aldershot and West Ham United during World War Two. He returned to West Bromwich and worked in a factory until he was over 60.

Built like the side of a house, Alf was a real 'stopper' centre-half, as tough as nails, who was initially reserve to Bill Richardson at The Hawthorns. He played at Highbury in the 1937 FA Cup semi-final defeat by Preston North End and won three Central League championship medals with Albion during the mid-1930s.

An interesting fact is that he was milking a cow on a nearby Handsworth farm when a representative from QPR came along and signed him on transfer deadline day in 1938. He went on to make over 200 appearances for the London club.

Alf who also played for the Civil Defence and the Metropolitan Police, London, during WW2, attended Albion home matches on a regular basis right up until his death in West Bromwich in June 1981.

ALF RILEY scored once in 130 League and cup games for Wolves whom he served as a wing-half from August 1913 until May 1923 when he retired through injury.

Born in Stafford in December 1889, he played his early football with Stafford Excelsior, then Bostocks FC, Stafford Rangers reserves, Siemens Institute, Ellington Town and Stafford Rangers again prior to moving to Molineux as a professional.

He guested for Wellington Town during the Great War and in 1921 gained an FA Cup runner's-up medal with Wolves. It is thought Alf died in the late 1950s.

HOWARD RILEY scored over 40 goals in more than 200 League and Cup appearances for Leicester City before joining Walsall in January 1966.

A right-winger, born in Wigston in August 1938 and an England youth and U23 international, he played in the 1961 and 1963 FA Cup finals for Leicester before having 26 first team outings for the Saddlers (four goals scored).

He left Fellows Park after barely half-a-season, joining Atlanta in the NASL before returning to end his senior career with Barrow in season 1967-68.

JIMMY RIMMER was born in Southport in February 1948. A goalkeeper, he represented Southport and Merseyside Schools before joining Manchester United as an amateur in May 1963, turning professional two years later.

After a loan spell with Swansea City (October 1973-February 1974) he moved to Arsenal for £40,000 in February 1974, switching to Aston Villa in a £65,000 deal in August 1977. After going back to Swansea City (in August 1983), he then played for Hamrun Spartans/Malta (August 1986) and Luton Town (briefly) before retiring in 1986. He then served as Swansea City's coach, from July 1987 to May 1988 and after that managed a golf complex in Swansea, while also coaching in China. He now lives and works in Canada.

Agile, positive and a fitness fanatic, Jimmy had a wonderful career, accumulating over 550 appearances, 470 in the Football League. Taking over from the 'rested' Ray Clemence, he gained his only England cap in the US Bi-centennial Tournament against Italy in New York in May 1976, being replaced in the second-half by Joe Corrigan in a 3-2 win. He already had two U23 caps under his belt.

He won the League Championship, European Cup (although he was only on the pitch for a few minutes before hurting his back) and European Super Cup with Aston Villa, for whom he made 287 of his senior appearances. He was an unused substitute for Manchester United when they won the European Cup in 1968.

STUART RIMMER was a smart utility forward, nippy and clever, who scored 44 goals in 106 appearances for Walsall between February 1989 and March 1991.

Born in Southport in October 1964, and a former England youth international, he started his professional career with Everton in 1982 and went on to play for Chester City (netting 67 goals in 114 League games), Watford and Notts County before his stint at Fellows Park. After leaving the Saddlers he continued his career with Barnsley, Chester (again), Rochdale and Preston North End, eventually quitting top-class football in May 1995, having bagged almost 200 goals in 550 competitive games.

FRED RINDER was Chairman of Aston Villa for more than half a century, from 1898 to 1925.

Born in Liverpool in July 1858, he was a committee member at Villa Park during the club's 'Golden Age' when they won the League Championship five times and the FA Cup three, completing the double in 1897.

Known as the 'Grand Old Man of Aston Villa' he is widely regarded as one of the greatest association football administrators. He was also largely responsible for the design and development of Villa Park. Fred arrived in Birmingham in 1876 aged 18, and was employed as a surveyor by the City Corporation. He was quickly signed up by the Villa and became the club's financial secretary in 1892, setting about installing turnstiles at Villa's Perry Barr ground. It was his idea to make Aston Villa football club a limited company and he was also the instigator of the infamous Barwick Street meeting in February 1893, at which he swept away the men who were running Villa into the ground, criticizing the board's tolerance of ill discipline and players' drinking.

He resigned as chairman in 1925, after the severe criticism he received for the spiralling cost of the new Trinity Road Stand. However, in his view… 'nothing but the very best was good enough for Aston Villa with its stained glass, Italian mosaics and grand frontage!'

Following Villa's first relegation in 1936, Fred, then aged 78, was brought back by the club as an 'experienced advisor' after an eleven year absence. And his first act was to introduce a new coach whom he met whilst on FA duty at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. His name was Jimmy Hogan, and he subsequently guided Villa to the Second Division championship in 1937-38. Fred died on Christmas Day, 1938 in Harborne, Birmingham.

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