Former Port Vale defensive midfielder Anthony Griffith, who made 237 appearances for the club in all competitions, has been promoted to the role of Professional Development Phase Coach.
While taking on a new role, this is ‘Griff’s’ third season coaching at the Vale and the 34-year-old has admitted he is still developing and learning all the time.
“It’s a different role and a promotion that you strive for as a coach, especially with starting at the bottom you are going through each and every phase.
“I have done my Foundation Phase and the YDP working with younger professional players and now, it’s about how we can get these players into the first team.”
In most recent years, Griff has played for and jointly managed Cheshire-based Congleton Town F.C, who compete in the North West Counties League Premier Division.
“I’ve been enjoying playing with Congleton, it’s a fantastic set up there and they are just starting their own youth development as well which is great – but I’m now focused on the Port Vale side of things.”
When discussing how his professional playing career can benefit the younger age groups throughout the football club, Griff recounted his own playing days at the Valiants.
“I have seen Port Vale go through a number of changes and seen it with my own eyes, Carol coming in and making that change obviously for the greater good of the club, and community, it’s fantastic to be part of the journey.”
When discussing the prospect of working alongside experienced ex-professional footballers such as Billy Paynter and Frank Sinclair, Griff believes the academy coaching team has all the credentials to suitably nurture up and coming talent.
“Billy [who Griff is assisting] is fantastic and I played with him myself up at Carlisle, he’s a great character and I’m sure we can both get the most out of the kids we have at the academy and that we can probably bring in as well – it’s all part and parcel of the job role.”
“I think obviously with a change of philosophy, mindset and what we are trying to bed into the players, it’s all part of the new transition coinciding with the club and Carol’s vision to see more youth coming through. I am sure the manager wants to get more youth coming through so there’s a production line for his selection.”
“We are all working together. It’s not as if we’re one department working as a separate entity, we are all together trying to strive for the same goals.”
Recalling fond memories from his own playing days at the club, Griff hailed back to the times of Micky Adams as the period in which he was playing the best football of his career.
“Winning Player of the Season and working under Micky Adams was a massive boot for me, he was fantastic and got the best out of me. Then winning promotion was fantastic as well.”
In addition, Griff was amongst Port Vale’s contingent of international players, representing Montserrat whilst with the club.
While traditionally fans would be in attendance at the upcoming FA Youth Cup fixture to be played at Vale Park against Basford United, the current coronavirus restrictions will not allow for spectators.
“Obviously, we speak about it probably every single day about having no fans being allowed in, but the lads will just have to dig in and do the best they can playing within the settings.
“I’m sure they will just relish being inside the stadium anyway as they are used to playing on the training ground, so they will adore just playing in the ground and playing under the lights it’s a special occasion for them and will make their parents and family’s proud.”
Looking forward to his role and the collective goals the Academy coaching team is setting out to achieve, Griff highlighted his key areas of focus.
“I will be in the U15’s role and continue working alongside them to help with the philosophy coming down from the U18’s and further. You get to see what’s up and coming for the next two years so it’s great doing that and working with the other lads as well.”
“We are all working together doing our bit and if everyone puts their extra 5 or 10% in, I am sure we will all get the results we are after.”