Where are they now? Matthew Rush
2nd NovemberWhere Are They Now?
Have you ever wondered what a former Swans player has been up to since hanging up his boots? In what is a new feature on swanseacity.net, we catch up with past players to give you the answers.
This week, former Swans loanee Matthew Rush goes under the spotlight. The wide man, who played 13 league matches for Swansea on loan from West Ham in 1994, later became a PE teacher before obtaining his UEFA 'B' coaching license.
A year before Frank Lampard spent a spell at Swansea City on loan from West Ham United, winger Matthew Rush made the same move along the M4.
The winger had already played a number of matches for the Hammers' first-team, with his debut coming against Hull City on October 9, 1990, prior to his temporary switch to the Vetch Field.
"I came to Swansea for three months or so at the start of 1994 as I was not playing first-team matches at the time for West Ham," explains Rush. "It was a good time on the pitch. We had a good run of results which saw us work our way up the league and we had a phenomenal run in the Football League Trophy of course, getting to the final."
The Swans' form was excellent during Rush's time at the club, losing just two of 16 league matches, of which the midfielder played in 13.
He also started both legs of the Football League Trophy Area Final against Wycombe Wanderers that would see the Swans progress through to Wembley.
"I can remember playing in front of a packed Vetch Field as we beat Wycombe (3-1) in the first-leg (March 1, 1994) and then even though we lost the second leg (1-0) away (March 22, 1994), we became the first Welsh club to get the final of that competition," Rush recalls.
"I had gone back to West Ham by the time of the final at Wembley (April 24, 1994) but Swansea City kindly invited me along.
"The Swans fans at Wembley that day gave me a standing ovation when they saw me, which was an amazing feeling."
That same month, Rush scored a memorable volley as the Hammers beat Ipswich Town in the Premier League on April 2, 1994. It was one of five league strikes he managed in 48 league appearances for the East London club through until a transfer to Norwich City in 1995.
"I look back so fondly on my time with West Ham," reflects Rush. "We got promotion to the top flight in 1992 and that was a big achievement, but I don't have one big highlight from my time there.
"I have to say the whole experience was incredible. Making good friends, enjoying virtually every minute of it. It was a rewarding, overwhelming experience."
Rush sustained a serious knee injury just three days after signing for Norwich and only ended up making three league appearances for the club through until 1997.
He was loaned to Northampton Town during the 1996-97 season, where he played 13 league matches and scored three goals.
He then went on to play 30 matches in all competitions for Oldham Athletic between 1997 and 1998, but a cruciate ligament injury sustained against Carlisle United on April 1998 saw him forced to retire from professional football at the age of just 27.
"After retiring from playing, I went to university that same year to study for a degree in Applied Sports Science and then went on to do a post-graduate course," explains Rush.
"I was in higher education for four years and then spent another year getting my teaching qualifications. That enabled me to teach in a sports academy in Manchester where I was for a year. I then took a post at a school in Cheshire called Marple Hall where I taught there for five years.
"My daughter Lana started showing a lot of promise as a tennis player and won a national tournament at the age of ten.
"We made the decision as a family for Lana and I to move to Barcelona while my wife continued working in the UK.
"Lana and I were very fortunate to live in a property in the beautiful El Garraf National Park while she was in a tennis academy there.
"We then moved to London as a family and I continued to accompany my daughter to tennis events around the world."
Lana is now 19 and has a tennis scholarship at Florida State University. She competed in Junior Wimbledon in 2012 and 2013.
Rush's wife Caroline is Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council and was awarded a CBE in 2015 in the year for services to the British fashion industry. Matthew, meanwhile, has recently completed a UEFA 'B' coaching licence with a view to getting involved in academy coaching in the future.