Fans favourite Anthony Griffith is back at Vale Park. This time, though, it’s not as the combative midfielder who won Player of the Season in 2010 and helped us secure promotion from League 2 in 2013 because Griff, as he is affectionately known, has joined the Academy coaching staff.
“I’m here with the Club I love” he said, when we caught up with him as he was about to start a coaching session with the Academy under 14s at Northwood Stadium.
“Port Vale gave me my first chance in League football and although I eventually played for several other League clubs, I enjoyed it so much here that it was a no-brainer when I was asked if I wanted to come back and help with coaching the Academy lads.
“I’ve not only loved playing I’ve always enjoyed the training as well and whichever club I played for I always tried to help the younger players with their game.
"In that sense coaching seems to be a natural progression for me and whilst I might be able to use my experience to help the youngsters, I accept that I have a lot to learn myself in order to become a good coach and secure my UEFA Badges. The staff at the Academy are top class and really helpful so I’m determined to make my time here successful.”
Anthony now lives in Congleton and last year he signed for North West Counties side Congleton Town who he continues to turn out for on a regular basis. At 31 he looks just as fit as he was in his prime but it’s to his great credit and determination that he can still play at all after a serious injury that he sustained in 2015 forced him to have hip replacement surgery.
Head of coaching at the Academy, Warren Campbell, is pleased to add Anthony to the coaching team. “I’ve kept in touch with Griff since he left the Club and it’s great that he’s accepted the invitation to come on board with us.
“He’s got a great attitude, a good knowledge of the game, he works hard and is determined to succeed – the very attributes he used to forge his career as a player.”
When he’s not coaching at the Vale, Anthony can be found working at the Sporting Stars Academy in Baddeley Green which is an Independent School for 14 to 16-year olds set up in 2014 by former Vale players Shane Tudor and Robin Hulbert.