BIG INTERVIEW: Meet Charnock Richard's record-breaking goalscorer Carl Grimshaw, who has netted 403 goals in 353 games
Five minutes must have gone by as I listened intently over the telephone to Charnock Richard's stalwart striker Carl Grimshaw.
The lapse in time was understandable – the 34-year-old was busy casting his mind back through four century of goals for the Villagers in order to pinpoint his favourite ever.
There was this goal, and that goal...or what about that one? Grimshaw, clearly thinking aloud, went through a long list of his finest efforts as he recalled his near decade-long stint at Mossie Park.
Then – with a slight chuckle – the big, strapping targetman said: “A couple of years ago, we played Thornton Cleveleys and we beat them 7-1…and I scored all seven!”
Hitting every one of Charnock’s goals that day is arguably the biggest highlight of Grimshaw’s career.
But it certainly was not a day to remember for Cleveleys, who were on the receiving end of the striker’s devastating finishing.
If that was not bad enough, Cleveleys must have looked at the fixture list with horror the following week when they discovered they were due to come up against Charnock once again.
“The week after, we played Thornton Cleveleys again and we beat them 6-0 – I scored five,” Grimshaw added.
While Cleveleys must have been sick of the sight of ‘Grimmy’, they should not have felt too ashamed about their inability to stop Charnock’s legendary centre-forward.
Virtually, every team he has come up against has felt the full force of his goalscoring prowess.
So much so that his name this week was mentioned in the same breath as modern-day greats of the game Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Although that comparison is obviously tongue in cheek, his goalscoring record over the past 10 seasons is something both Messi or Ronaldo would be proud of.
Grimshaw’s strike in a 3-2 defeat against Whitchurch Alport in the North West Counties League Premier Division on Saturday was his 400th in just 352 appearances for Andy Westwell’s men.
Messi has ‘only’ scored 390 from 427 games in Barcelona colours since 2004 while Ronaldo has hit 302 from 318 appearances over the past decade for Juventus and Real Madrid.
Grimshaw had a laugh when he saw the comparison to the Argentine great and the Portuguese star, but nevertheless his goalscoring feat is a remarkable story.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw my name alongside those two,” said Grimshaw, who is a farmer during the day
“But you know I’ve been scoring goals all these years so it was nice.
“I just have an incredible desire to win football matches and score goals week in, week out.
“The older I have got, the bigger my desire has got to do well, not just for me but for my team-mates.”
Grimshaw, who was attached at various times to both Manchester United and Manchester City as a youngster, joined Charnock Richard in 2009 – then of the West Lancashire League – after spending his early career with Eagley.
Since then, he has helped the club win four West Lancashire League Premier Division titles, three Richardson Cups and two Lancashire FA Amateur Shield.
Over the past couple of seasons, he has transferred his goalscoring ability to the North West Counties League after Charnock moved up the football pyramid.
Grimshaw, who played a major role as the club won promotion to the Premier Division of the NWCL in its first full season in the league, admits he just loves the family feel at Mossie Park – and that is one of the reasons why he has never felt like leaving.
“It’s a great club,” the Chorley-born player said. “Everybody around the club is fantastic.
“As a player you get treated like royalty – especially me! It’s such a family-orientated club and that’s what I’ve liked and enjoyed.
“Over the years I’ve had quite a few clubs from the Counties and higher, who have come in for me.
“I remember when I was at Eagley, Chorley coming in for me when I was 21 and looking back I should have gone there at that stage.
“It was never that I was afraid of making the step up – I am quite an ambitious guy. But with my work and the life as it was, I was always happy staying where I was.
“I know full well I could do a job in the Northern Premier League.
“It’s the one question I get asked, ‘Why have you never played higher?’
“But not many people can say that they’ve enjoyed every season for the past 16 in football – but I can.”
So back to the question: What about his favourite goal?
“I am quite well known for my heading ability,” said Grimshaw, who is married to Louise and has a seven-year-old son Elliot .
“I’ve scored quite a few good headers.
“There was one this season at Leek Town away in the FA Vase – I scored a great header from about 18 yards.
“I remember scoring a bullet header against Stoneclough many, many years ago.
“And there was a great left-foot shot against Darwen – a 25-yarder into the top corner – that stands out too.”
‘I’ll carry on playing!”
Despite turning 34-years-old last week, Charnock Richard’s prolific striker Carl Grimshaw has no intention of retiring any time soon – much to the chagrin of the defences of many clubs in the North West Counties Premier Division. “I am very proud to score my 400th goal for Charnock,” said Grimshaw, who runs Smithhills Open Farm, in Bolton. “It has made me hungry to carry on and score more goals. I don’t know how many seasons I’ve got left in me, but at this rate, I just want to keep going, keep banging them in. My work life keeps me fit and healthy. I am a farmer by trade and being out in all weathers, doing all sorts of physical work keeps me in shape. Having my own business has also helped me play football every Saturday and Tuesd