Where are they now? Des Lyttle

11th January
Where Are They Now?


Have you ever wondered what a former Swans player has been up to since hanging up his boots? 

In a regular feature, we catch up with past players to give you the answers.
This week we focus on former Swans defender Des Lyttle, who played 53 matches in all competitions for the Swans during the 1992-93 season.

Lyttle is now director of football at Thomas Telford School in Shropshire.
 

When Des Lyttle was released from Leicester City as a 19-year-old, having never made a first-team appearance for the Foxes, the Wolverhampton-born defender opted to sign for non-league club Worcester City.
His impressive performances for the Worcestershire side during the 1991-92 season brought him to the attention of a number of Football League clubs, including Swansea City.
"I was playing for Worcester under the management of (ex-West Bromwich Albion defender) Martyn Bennett," recalls Lyttle.
"I understand Swansea were made aware of me by (ex-Portsmouth defender) Andy Awford's dad, who was a scout for the Swans. (Then Swansea manager) Frank Burrows came to watch a match and ended up paying £12,500 to sign me in the summer of 1992."
Lyttle made his Swans debut away to Burnley (in August 1992) in the old Division Two (now League One) on the opening day of the 1992-93 season. Despite a 1-0 defeat at Turf Moor that day, the campaign would be a successful one for both Lyttle and the Swans.
"I was due to play central midfield in that match but Steve Jenkins got injured in training in the week leading up to the game, so Frank put me in at right-back," remembers Lyttle.
"I ended up playing there for the majority of my career, so it was as a masterstroke from Frank starting me at full-back!"
The Burnley game was the first of 53 appearances Lyttle would make for the Swans that season. Playing in a Swans defence alongside the likes of Jenkins, Keith Walker and Mark Harris, Lyttle helped the club finish fifth in the Division Two table in 1992-93. The Swans booked a two-legged, play-off semi-final meeting with West Bromwich Albion in the process.
"Those matches against West Brom were incredible occasions, even though we ultimately ended up losing (3-2 on aggregate)," reflects Lyttle.
"The atmosphere at Vetch was incredible for the first leg (May 16, 1993), which we won 2-1. I remember the second leg, with lots of my family coming to see that game as it was a local one for them. Sadly we lost 2-0 and missed out on the opportunity of going to Wembley."
A week or so after the Swans returned to pre-season training ahead of the 1993-94 campaign, Lyttle remembers being called into Burrows' office.
"I thought it was going to be about discussing the new contract," smiles Lyttle. "Frank told me Nottingham Forest had been in touch and that Swansea had accepted the offer. He told me it was a good opportunity for me to go there and of course, Forest are a massive club.
"It all happened so quickly. I was at the City Ground the following day for talks and the day after that, I was sat next to Stuart Pearce as we were off on our pre-season tour. It had been quite a 12 months for me as I had been playing non-league football with Worcester only a year earlier."
Lyttle went on to play 185 league matches for Forest, scoring three times, between 1993 and 1999. He also turned out for the likes of Port Vale (loan), Watford, West Brom and Northampton Town before returning to non-league football with Forest Green Rovers in 2004 - he also played briefly for Stourport Swifts in 2003.
"I carried on playing with the likes of Worcester City and then Tamworth until I was 38," adds Lyttle. "I went through the process of getting my coaching badges and a few years on from leaving West Brom (in 2003), I took up a coaching role with Wolverhampton Wanderers' academy which I held for over five years."
More recently, Lyttle had short spells as manager of Tamworth and Hucknall Town and was also a first-team coach at York City in 2012.
"For the last four years, I have been director of football at Thomas Telford School in Shropshire," he continues.
"We school over 60 lads, who are also part of professional clubs' academies. It gives them the chance to have an academic education from Year 7 right through to Year 11 when they can go onto a scholarship with a football club.
"We also educate the lads that don't get offered a scholarship at 16 and we run a triple BTEC programme for them. We've had a number of lads who have got back into the game that way, including my son Tyler, who was released by Wolves but has been at Bristol Rovers for a few years now."