Nicky Rust has gone into management. But you will not find the former Albion goalkeeper in charge of any football club.

Rust, now 27, is boss of a building firm in Cambridgeshire.

"There's no chance of my getting into football management, I like what I do too much," he said.

In fact, the only link the former England youth international has with the game is as a goalkeeping coach with Cambridge City where he ended his playing days as a part-timer.

"It's fun. My work took up too much time for me to commit to matches and training, but I enjoy popping down once a week to help out with City."

Rust gave up full-time professional football for the sake of his family in a a gesture that proves new man philosophies have infiltrated a sport often seen as chauvinistic.

He was 24 and at Barnet after spending pre-season at Orient following his departure from Albion after five years and 192 appearances in 1997.

"The trouble was that the only contract Barnet could afford, because of limited finances, was just not enough. It just wasn't viable for me to sign it. I had a young family, my partner Clare, a childhood sweetheart by the way, and baby daughter Eloise to consider. Quite simply, the family came first. I wasn't prepared to put them at risk by being selfish.

"A lot of goalkeepers go on forever but in my case I thought at 24 that I ought to go out and get a proper job!

"I don't regret it for a moment."

While the club went through the roller-coaster of will-they-won't-they-survive during his time at the club, Rust had his own ups and downs.

He came to Albion from Arsenal following a trial match for the reserves at Norwich.

Rust made a flying start, missing just two games in his first three years after being thrown into the first team aged 18. He even managed to equal the club record for clean sheets with five on the bounce in 1995 and his number of appearances put him in the top eight of Albion keepers.

But injury and then loss of form saw him sidelined and Mark Ormerod became No. 1 during the 1996-97 season in which the club secured their league status on the last day at Hereford.

He recalled: "Barry Lloyd brought me in. Obviously, like any youngster, I had aspirations of making it in the Premiership. Arsenal were and are a big club. I had Bob Wilson as a goalkeeping coach and David Seaman was there offering me a lot of good, sound advice. He was a bit like myself in temperament, laid back, and we got on very well.

"But unfortunately for me it didn't work out and I was released.

"I was pleased Albion wanted me. Mark Beeney was on the verge of joining Leeds and Perry Digweed his No. 2 wasn't going to be around and I was thrown in the deep end and didn't have time to think about nerves.

"I remember my debut at Bradford. We lost but I did okay. I enjoyed a Coca-Cola Cup run and the clean sheets achievement was a boost.

"Off the field was good too because Brighton is such a great place to live. I shared a flat with Junior McDougald. Even though he was ex-Spurs and I was an ex-Gunner we got on really well. We came from similar areas, I was from Cambridgeshire and he was from Huntingdonshire.

"I even enjoyed some extra studying, doing evening classes in French and English which was good for me as I'd neglected my studies a little at school because of football."

But Rust began to think about his career when Ormerod replaced him.

"First an injury cost me my place, but then I didn't perform to the best of my ability. I had got used to being No.1, but I wasn't complacent and worked hard to get back in.

"But it wasn't the best of times for me.

"Brian Horton called me in one day and said 'You're not in the team, how are you feeling.' I said I thought I needed a new challenge. He told me not to rush into anything and I waited until the end of the season when I still felt the same way. It was very amicable."

Rust keeps in touch with former teammates like Peter Smith but it was Steve Foster who left a big impression on him while at the club.

"Fozzie was a big influence in the dressing room. He was highly respected and one of the loud characters. I certainly got my ear bent."

He added with a smile: "He blamed everybody but himself!"

Rust, who also served under Jimmy Case, Liam Brady and Steve Gritt, appreciated what his managers at Albion went through.

"It wasn't easy for any of them but certainly Barry Lloyd, with Martin Hinshelwood and Larry May assisting him, did the best for me."

Rust is delighted his old club are enjoying so much success - champions of the Third Division last term and riding high in the Second this season.

"There was a lot of turmoil when I was there and saving our league status was a huge relief and was, in a strange way, one of my highlights.

"The club's problems were constantly there in the background and we were getting headlines for all the wrong reasons.

"But now they have turned it round I couldn't be more delighted.

"I don't get much chance to come back down because of my family and work commitments but I still keep an eye out for their results."

During his spell with the Seagulls, Rust made two visits to The Argus offices that he recalls with fondness.

"I was with Robbie Reinelt and I remember meeting a large-breasted woman in a leopardskin outfit for some promotion.

"Then I came in to have my picture done with my baby Eloise. I didn't think it was for publication and I was annoyed at the time that it was, but it was a beautiful portrait of me holding Eloise in my goalkeeping gloves."

Now Rust is holding another baby, Harrison, aged nine months.

"Life is fantastic the way it is. There is no chance of a comeback!"