Where are they now? Rhys Wilmot

7th November

Ever wondered what former Swans stars have been up to since hanging up their boots?

Well you are in the right place.

As part of a regular feature, we take a look at what some ex-Swansea City favourites have done since leaving SA1.

Here we catch up with former keeper Rhys Wilmot.

Swansea City made a solid start to life back in the old Third Division in 1988-89, winning eight and drawing four of their opening 16 matches of the season.

This was thanks in no small part to the efforts of Newport-born goalkeeper Rhys Wilmot, who was on loan at the Vetch from Arsenal.

“Swansea were stuck for a goalkeeper at that time and I was keen to get first-team football,” Wilmot recalls.

“I remember going down to the Vetch to a play in a pre-season friendly against Chelsea, which is when I agreed to the loan move.”

Wilmot made his competitive debut in a 3-2 victory at Gillingham on the opening day of the season and kept five clean sheets during his time in SA1.

“Arsenal were keen for me to still receive coaching from Bob Wilson, with Swansea not having a specific goalkeeping coach at that time,” he adds.

“For the first part of the week, I’d be up in London training with Arsenal, then I’d come back to Swansea on the Wednesday afternoon to train on the Thursday and Friday before playing on the Saturday.”

Wilmot’s loan spell ended after a 2-1 defeat at Port Vale that November, with Terry Yorath’s side sitting fifth in the table.

“It was great to have played my part in a really decent start to the season for Swansea,” he adds.

“Even though I was only with the club for a few months, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.”

Wilmot subsequently signed for Plymouth Argyle in the summer of 1989 following another successful loan spell.

Having originally joined Arsenal as a schoolboy in 1977, the goalkeeper departed the North London club with nine senior appearances to his name.

He went on to feature in 133 league matches for Argyle between 1989 and 1992 and also represented the likes of Grimsby, Crystal Palace and Torquay before retiring from playing five years later.

“After hanging up my boots, I bought and ran the Bateman Arms pub in Herefordshire,” Wilmot explains.

“It was a country restaurant public house in a village called Shobdon.

“Running a pub was something I had always wanted to do, and it was a great experience.

“After that, I moved back to Plymouth and joined Devon and Cornwall Police in 2001.

“I spent 17 years in the force before leaving this summer. I was in the response unit, so I saw some sights and bashed down quite a few doors in that time, as you can imagine!”

Wilmot combined his day job with a part-time coaching role at Plymouth Argyle.

He began coaching the academy goalkeepers in 2005 and, eight years later, was promoted to undertake the same role with the first team, where he has been ever since.

“This summer, I was in the position to be able to leave the police and go full-time at Plymouth,” he explains.

“I always wanted to go into coaching and really enjoy that side of things.”

Two of Plymouth’s current goalkeepers have connections with Wilmot’s former clubs in on-loan Arsenal stopper Matt Macey and ex-Swan Kyle Letheren.

“Matt’s come in and done very well despite our disappointing start to the season,” he says. “He’s a pleasure to work with.

“I also feel a lot of affinity with Kyle. He’s a great pro and it’s always great to have a fellow Welshman in the ranks!”