Larger than life Liversedge Manager Jonathan Rimmington has been quite quiet as of late but we caught up with the no-nonsense Yorkshireman this morning after their 2-0 away win over Goole AFC yesterday.
I would describe your season as inconsistent. You did win yesterday but would you agree with that summary?
“Yes, 100%. We are inconsistent. We can’t get the same team out twice, that’s the problem. If we could get our best team out every week I think we’d be up in the top six or seven but if you don’t get your best team out every week… I look at others’ teamsheets and they always have the same sort of line-up every week and we seem to change four or five.”
“Last week against Staveley we had seven missing. It’s ridiculous really but it is what it is. It’s where we are. What can we do?”
So far this season you’ve played 59 different players. That obviously summarises what you’ve just said about keeping the same core squad in there, challenging more towards the top end rather than mid-table mediocrity, as you currently are. Going forward, how do you think you can address this?
“A lot of things have happened this year at the club and there’s a lot still happening at the club; all positive. It has caused a few issues in certain things with players, myself and coaches. We are trying to get a sixteen and, if we get the sixteen, we are not going to get people in until we get an injury.”
“What Ponte did was to keep the same group of lads from the start of preseason. It’s nice playing young ‘uns and I like playing young ‘uns but you can’t have loads of them. I’m saying that and Staveley, at this moment, have a lot of young lads who are doing really, really well… but they struggled on our pitch last week! I just think you’ve got to have a core of experienced players with the dash of a little bit of energy of youth.”
Yesterday you played Goole away. They’re fighting for their lives but you managed to sneak a 2-0 win. You must be happy in that sense.
“I’m happy but we weren’t very good, I’ll be honest! I thought the wind was a factor. It was very windy; the pitch was very bobbly. First half we seemed to get run over a little bit. We just couldn’t simply get hold of the ball and keep it up top. It just kept coming back. Once we get on the ball, with the expansive play and pace we’ve got, we cause teams problems and we did again yesterday. We had quite a few chances but, first half, they could have been 3-1 up at half time with the wind and I think we were quite fortunate to go in 1-0 up.”
“But then again, two weeks ago at our place I thought we should have won that game. I thought we were the better team by far and they go and score a sneaky 76th-minute header and we couldn’t do anything about it! Like we’ve just been talking about, in football you never know what you’re going to get from one game to the next, I’m afraid.”
You’ve now got five home games in the next 25 days to look forward to.
“Have we? I’m just looking at each game as it comes really. I’m not looking too far ahead. We concentrate on Hallam now, on Tuesday. I went to watch them last week and they’ve got some good players. But every team in this League have got good players and I think everybody’s beatable on the day. It just depends on who turns up and who’s got that little bit of luck.”
“Sometimes it’s even down to the weather, maybe. Yesterday’s wind really spoiled the game, I’ll be honest, and it was the team who dealt with it better. I don’t think we dealt with it first half but we knew what we were going to do second-half so I thought we dealt with them the second-half. They didn’t really have too many chances second-half.”
You’ve played the top four home and away, apart from Bridlington, already this season. Who do you think is going to win the Northern Counties Premier League?
“On current form I’d say Worksop but I thought we were very unlucky at Worksop about a month ago. They beat us 2-1 and they got a second-half penalty. I thought they were very average on that day. What they do is they grind out results and they’ve got some experienced players who just keep coming at you. They’re methodical and they’ve got that side to them and they’ve got that little bit of extra factor.”
“Hemsworth… first half an hour if you can cope with them! They’re probably the best footballing team, Hemsworth. Once they get the ball down they start passing it and they’re brilliant.”
“Penistone… the front three are a handful. Any set piece is a danger and they’ve got Jordan Coduri in the middle of the park who’s got that little bit of extra factor again. Nathan Keightley up front’s dangerous.”
“Bridlington… I didn’t go to Bridlington when we got battered but they won’t be doing that to us again next time! We’re going to give them a game. I watched them at Yorkshire Ammers and they were a little bit unlucky. They got beaten 3-2, I think. Again, they’re quite experienced. Quite a few lads are a bit older who know the game and know the ins and outs of this League.”
“So I don’t know really! Throw them up in the air and see which drops!”
“Ammers are a good team on the day. They’ve got a lot of pace and a lot of flair. Maybe the last four weeks it’s just too much for them at this time of the year but I think they’ll come back. Penistone’s football probably doesn’t suit this sort of weather and pitches at the moment.”
“I think the team that surprised us about six weeks ago was Eccleshill. They did really well against us but we were tinkering with our team again, like we’ve done all season. It’s been a nightmare. 59 players is a joke really.”
If any one of those four could go on a run now, I think they’ll nick it. I think Worksop might do it, I’ll be honest. I think they’ve got that strength. Penistone have got that strength as well and they’re methodical; they keep playing the same way… a bit Ponte-ish, really! Ponte did that last year.
I wish we were in there. We can beat the top teams on our day then get beaten by the bottom teams. What’s that all about? But we keep going!”
It’s all about that inconsistency, if you could eradicate that.
“If you don’t concede goals. We put Joe Walton at the back yesterday again and he and Jacko [Tom Jackson] were absolutely immense, honestly. Immense! Every header dropped: boom! Because they put it on you, Goole. They’ve got Carl Stewart up front who’s very good and the other lad works off him. They just kept putting it on you and they’re running in behind. They were good, Goole, yesterday, first half. Caused us a lot of problems. Joe and Jacko were brilliant yesterday.”
“We could do with three Joe Waltons then we would be up there!”
You mentioned about defending and not conceding. You’ve only conceded five goals in five games but, before that, your ratio is not too pretty. You’ve conceded on average in the League 2.45 goals per game but that ratio’s coming down massively. Do you think Joe Walton’s having a huge impact?
“Massive! If we can get our full team out I can put Joe back up top. We can play Kevy Tarangadzo when he’s there; he makes a difference. Adimar Neves but he’s either been injured or going back to Paris to see his family. There have been problems in that department. We’d like the centre half to play. We went to Bridlington with none! We went with Joe Walton playing centre half then he got injured after five minutes and we had no one to play. We had a team of young ‘uns and that’s where we’ve let ourselves down really.”
“People go on holiday and we know they all do. It’s just one of those things and we’ve got to get on with it. When you look at Penistone’s team and Worksop’s now, they never seem to change. They don’t go on holiday, those boys! It must be a prerequisite when you sign: you can’t go on holiday during the season or go to a wedding!”
You’re not the first manager to comment on that. Both Ryan Hindley and Danny Barrett have commented about players disappearing and going on jollies and stuff. Do you think that’s just a thing you just have to deal with nowadays and do you think it was different maybe 10, 15, 20 years ago?
“100%! Miles different. When we played we had no mobile phones to get out of not coming or whatever. You can send a sneaky text now, can’t you? “I can’t make it now, mate, I’m working…” You went training on Tuesdays and Thursdays then Saturdays… right! You’re in the team on Saturday. Meet at half-twelve. Sound! So you’d go and meet; you turned up! You were there. You didn’t let anybody down.”
“I used to play with ‘flu and everything! I would never miss a game. I’ve had a can of Coke and a Mars bar before I played when I was ‘fluey… and two paracetamols! Get on with it! Go home and cry after!”
“They’d rather go out, though. That’s the trouble now. There’s too much for them to do. Social media’s massive.”
“I do my homework a little bit on everything! All the players think we’re all daft! If they go and play for somebody else, whether it’s in the West Yorkshire League or wherever, you usually find out within an hour or two after the game’s finished! “I thought you played for whoever?” “No…” That’s basically what it is, really.”
“Yes, we’ve had an average season. We’re just going to try to get to the final if we can of this Cup. If we can and we beat Hallam. I don’t know if we can but it will be a tight one, I think. Some good players, them!”