TOP-FLIGHT JACKS: Chris Marustik

21st March

We continue our focus on players who featured for Swansea City during the club's previous foray into the top flight of English football.
Here, we reflect on the career of Swansea-born Chris Marustik.

Date of birth: August 10, 1961
Appearances/goals for the Swans: 207 apps; 14 goals.
Former clubs: Swansea City (1978-1985), Cardiff City (1985-1987), Barry Town (1987-1988), Newport County (1988)
Memorable moment: Marustik's first-team debut came in the famous League Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur in 1978 when the Swans drew 2-2.
Did you know? When Marustik made his full international debut for Wales against Spain in 1982, he became the sixth Swans player to play in that game.

The son of a Czech immigrant, Chris Marustik was born in Swansea in 1961, where he attended Olchfa and Bishop Gore schools.
Growing up, Marustik showed great promise as a young football, featuring for Swansea Schools alongside fellow future Swansea City players Dudley Lewis and Jimmy Loveridge.
Upon leaving school, Marustik followed a well-worn path when he joined the Vetch Field ground staff as an apprentice professional in 1977 before making his senior debut for the Swans in one of the club's most iconic games. Coming on as a substitute, he featured as the Swans drew 2-2 with First Division giants Tottenham Hotspur in the second round of the League Cup in August 1978.
Although he enjoyed his first taste of first-team football in that renowned fixture, Marustik was made to wait almost another year to make his league debut in an away clash with Peterborough United in May 1979. But that didn't stop the young midfielder from catching the eye of the national team selectors, who called Marustik up to represent Wales at youth and Under-21 level on seven occasions.
Following Swansea's rapid rise through the divisions under John Toshack, culminating in promotion to the First Division in 1981, Marustik made his top-flight debut as a substitute in an away fixture at Coventry City in October 1981, before scoring his first goal in the division in a 3-1 win over West Brom the following April.
By the season's end, Marustik had established himself as a first-team regular, collecting a Welsh Cup winners' medal along the way.
Unlike many, the well-documented problems that the club endured during their second season in the top flight didn't seem to affect Marustik, who continued to perform well consistently. And at the end of a dismal season from a Swansea City perspective, his impressive form was rewarded with his first full Wales cap when he featured in a 1-1 draw with Spain in March 1982.
But Swansea's relegation from the top flight was followed by a rapid descent back down the divisions, and by October 1985, Marustik made the decision to leave the club to join nearby neighbours Cardiff City in a player exchange deal with Roger Gibbins going the other way.
Marustik spent two seasons at Ninian Park before moving to Welsh League outfit Barry Town, where he enjoyed  a successful campaign during his one-season stay, prior to a switch to Newport County in June 1988.
Before hanging up his boots, Marustik moved to Australia, where he played, managed and coached in Perth prior to a return to Swansea to work for Welsh Brewers.