Former Swansea City and Arsenal keeper Jimmy Rimmer relishing battle between his former clubs

28th October

There will be few people heading to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday hoping neither Swansea City nor Arsenal claim three points. Jimmy Rimmer, though, is the exception.

The former Arsenal and Swans keeper can be excused on this occasion as he sees his former clubs do battle.

Rimmer spent two spells at the Vetch - the first a loan move in 1973 that actually convinced the Gunners to permanently sign him from Manchester United, before he rejoined the Swans ten years later.

So, on Saturday, there is just one result he wants to see.

"When my former clubs play each other, I don't want either to lose, so a draw is perfect for me," said Rimmer.

"But one thing is for sure, football will be the winner because both teams play the right way."

An enthusiast of the passing game, Rimmer speaks with huge fondness of the time he spent at each club during a hugely successful career.

It was one that started at Manchester United, with the Lancashire lad among the substitutes as the Red Devils won the European Cup in 1968.

And after a four-month spell in South West Wales, Rimmer was on the move again - this time to Arsenal.

"I had a great three-and-a-half years at Arsenal," he reflected. "I learned heck of a lot while I was at the club. It was difficult at first because I'm from the north and I didn't settle immediately in London.

"But I stuck at it. Bob Wilson was retiring the season after I arrived, and making my debut in a 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield was special.

"The move certainly worked out for me."

It worked out in more ways than one, with Rimmer also earning international recognition by making his England debut.

And a move to Aston Villa would add a First Division winners medal in 1981, along with another European Cup trophy despite being injured early on during the final win over Bayern Munich.

With that success behind him, Rimmer returned to Swansea, making 83 league appearances before joining Maltese club Hamrun Spartans in August 1986, then coaching in China and Canada.

"I played for the best clubs in the north, south, midlands and Wales," he said with a smile.

"I always look out for my former clubs. Obviously I have a strong affection for Manchester United as I'm from the north, while I still support Villa and Arsenal. Not many people can say that!

"And, of course, Swansea. It's a club that means a lot to me, and I still live in the area too as I love it down here."

Rimmer, who lives in Gowerton, is now a regular at the Liberty, and Saturday's clash between his former clubs is one he's sure to enjoy.

"Games between Swansea and Arsenal are always enjoyable," he added.

"Arsenal have got so much talent - they are brilliant going forward, but I think Swansea like playing teams like Arsenal. They know they will have a bit more space and face a team that also wants to play football.

"I think they can beat anyone in this division, and last season proved that - how many clubs do the double over Arsenal and Manchester United in the same year?

"I was the guest of honour for the Arsenal game at the Liberty last season, and afterwards I spoke to Arsene Wenger and he was surprised how Swansea held back instead of playing their usual style. Garry's tactics caught him off guard.

"Credit has to go to Garry. In my opinion, he is the best young manager in Britain and to lead the club to their best finish in the Premier League last season was incredible.

"This season got off to a great start before a bad spell, which every team goes through.

"I was at the Villa game last weekend, and although it wasn't the best of performances the important thing was that Swansea got three points. Now the challenge is to push on - starting with Arsenal on Saturday."