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Arfon Griffiths
Personal information
Full name Arfon Trevor Griffiths
Date of birth 23 August 1941 (1941-08-23) (age 68)
Place of birth Wrexham, Wales
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1957–1959 Wrexham
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1959–1961 Wrexham 41 (8)
1961–1962 Arsenal 15 (2)
1962–1979 Wrexham 550 (112)
Total 606 (122)
National team
Wales 17 (6)
Teams managed
1977–1981 Wrexham
1981–1982 Wales
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Arfon Trevor Griffiths (born 23 August) is Welsh former football player and manager. During his playing career which lasted from 1959 to 1979, Griffiths played at both professional and international levels, before becoming a football manager.

Career

Born in Wrexham, Griffiths was originally spotted in local junior football by former Wrexham player Frank Blew, who then alerted the club's manager Cliff Lloyd. He initially signed Griffiths on amateur forms in May 1957, as the youngster turned down offers of trials from both Liverpool and Sheffield Wednesday. This started a 22 year-long association between with Wrexham as both player and manager.

He made his first team in a 2-1 home win over Reading in November 1959, having been a member of the previous season’s successful Welsh Youth Cup winning side. He kept his place in the side for the rest of the season collecting a Welsh Cup winners' medal from a 1-0 win over Cardiff City.

He became an established member of the side during 1960-61, and it was not long before the bigger clubs began to take an interest. In February 1961 Arsenal paid £15,500 to take him to Highbury, and he made his debut in a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Wolverhampton Wanderers on April 22, 1961. He broke through intermittently in the 1961-62 season, making 14 league appearances as an attacking midfiielder, scoring twice. Unable to maintain a first-team place, Griffiths returned to Wrexham in September 1962.

Affectionately known to Wrexham fans as the 'Prince of Wales', he played a major part to some of the most successful years in Wrexham Football Club's history. These include guiding the club to promotion in both 1962-63 and 1969-70; winning the Welsh Cup four times; playing in three European campaigns, which included reaching the quarter-final stages of the European Cup-Winners' Cup in 1976, before losing out to the eventual winners RSC Anderlecht, 2-1, on aggregate. He was awarded a testimonial match in 1972 against Bill Shankly's Liverpool, which netted him £3,000 for his testimonial fund. In total he made a club record 591 Football League appearances and scoring the second highest total number of goals in the club's history, 120.

These successes also led him on to international recognition by gaining 17 full Welsh caps, the highlight of which was scoring at the Racecourse Ground against Austria in 1975, which enabled Wales to qualify for the 1976 European Football Championship finals. He was also selected for the 1971 Welsh FA tour to New Zealand, Australia, Tahiti and Malaysia.

He played under eight managers at Wrexham, before taking charge himself in the summer of 1977 following the resignation of John Neal. Arfon had previously been his assistant manager for a year. Wrexham's directors had no hesitation in appointing him as Neal's replacement, and he kept faith with the same squad that had just missed out on promotion at the end of the previous season.

He was soon to lose the services of Billy Ashcroft, however, who followed Neal to Middlesbrough. Griffiths then splashed out in the transfer market, spending £60,000 to bring in Dixie McNeil from Hereford United as Ashcroft's replacement; £8,000 for Dai Davies from Everton; and £40,000 to Coventry City for Les Cartwright. These three signings were a key part of the side that Griffiths led to the Third Division championship, becoming the first manager in the club's history to win promotion to the then Second Division.

Injuries affected the team's performances in the Second Division and they struggled to come to terms with a higher grade of football. When the going got tough the crowds began to drop, and, in the summer of 1981, Griffiths resigned on a matter of principle after an internal disagreement.

Although he began to assist Bangor City with their training in an advisory capacity, he was to make a quick return to football management, however, when he was appointed manager of Crewe Alexandra on 3 August 1981. He spent just over a season at Gresty Road until relieved of his duties in October 1982. He did play for his local side, Gresford Athletic, in the Welsh National League, for a short while, before finishing with football altogether to concentrate on his newsagents' shop in the village and playing golf.

Griffiths was awarded the MBE in June 1976 for his services to Welsh soccer, and he in 2006 he was made Club President of his home town club, Wrexham, as well as being added to the club's Hall of Fame.

References

  • Harris, Jeff & Hogg, Tony (ed.) (1995). Arsenal Who's Who. Independent UK Sports. ISBN 1-899429-03-4.  
  • Peter Jones & Gareth M. Davies (1999). The Racecourse Robins Adams To Youds. ISBN 0-952495-01-5.  

External links

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