Matt Grimes, an academy player from Exminster, played around sixty first-team games for Exeter City before joining Swansea City for a six-figure fee. He represented England under-20s whilst an Exeter player. Matt's younger brother Nick was a youth player for City and later enjoyed success with Taunton Town.
After playing in age-group academy teams Matt became a scholar/trainee in 2011 and signed a professional contract in April 2013. He made his first-team professional debut against AFC Wimbledon on 17 August 2013 and scored his first league goal at Chesterfield on 18 April 2014. Still only eighteen, Matt appeared in thirty-seven league and cup games in his debut season and was named Exeter City player of the season 2013/14.
Matt added a further twenty-five first team games in the first-half of 2014/15 scoring five times. This was sufficient to earn him a place in the PFA League Two team of the year for 2014/15 even though he played no further games in the division after his final game for Exeter on Boxing Day 2014. This was Matt's 62nd game - 58 league, 4 cup - in an Exeter first-team career that barely covered seventeen months. Matt’s next professional appearance would be in the Premier League for Swansea in April 2015.
Matt’s move to Swansea occurred on 2 January 2015 for a reported fee of £1.75 million which was more than triple Exeter’s previous record of £500,000 paid by Manchester City for Martin Phillips in 1995. After Matt’s early Premier League debut he played another two games during his first season in South Wales. Matt then went on to score his first Swansea goal, in the League Cup in August 2015, before playing Championship football on loan at Blackburn during the second half of 2015/16. By now Matt was also enjoying a flourishing international career having played for England under-20s (making his debut as an Exeter player) and the under-21s. A particular red letter day came in March 2015 when Matt returned to Devon to captain England in an under-20 international against the United States at Home Park, Plymouth.
But it was at this stage that Matt’s career didn’t quite go to plan when a season-long loan at Leeds brought disappointment resulting in a more modest next destination when he joined League One Northampton Town on loan for the 2017/18 season. All told Matt made forty-seven appearances, scoring four times, at Sixfields and was ready to resume his career with the now-relegated Swans in August 2018. Matt did so with avengeance playing fifty times in the 2018/19 season and a similar number in the following COVID-interupted season which ended in a play-off defeat to an Ollie Watkins-inspired Brentford. Thereafter Matt continued to play game-after-game for Swansea and in April 2022 made his 200th appearance for the club.
As Matt continued into the 2022/23 season, by now captain and occasionally the subject of transfer speculation, a January 2023 tweet from PFF - a sporting data and analytics company - claimed that Matt had already completed 282 “line-breaking” passes so far that season. This, apparently, was more than any player in Europe’s “top five” leagues.