Cult hero 71: Phil Griffiths

He was a promotion winner, a lucrative sale, a League Title winner and a Wales International midfielder… but perhaps the most remarkable thing about Phil Griffiths is his journey to the club in the first place…

Football in the 1920’s was a very different world from the modern-day game. Phil Griffiths’ journey to Burslem is a classic example…

Born in the Rhondda valley, Griffiths had played for a couple of Welsh non-league clubs before he decided to take his chances in England. He opted for North Staffordshire and in 1926 he set off on a 170 mile journey. It would be a long journey in the modern age, but Griffiths didn’t take a car or a train – he walked to the Potteries!

Griffiths didn’t even have a definite offer when he set off – but instead had trials with both Stoke City and Port Vale. Luckily for him, he was offered a contract by the Valiants and it proved to be a very astute move for the Vale.

He opted for North Staffordshire and in 1926 he set off on a 170 mile journey. It would be a long journey in the modern age but Griffiths didn’t take a car or a train – he walked to the Potteries!

The Welshman made just one appearance in his first season – 1926-27 – and he didn’t really become a regular until 1929-30. The midfielder proved to be a revelation as he netted 14 times in 30 games that campaign, his goals playing a major part in one of Vale’s crowning glories – the 1930 Third Division North Title. We’ll go off on a slight tangent to mark that achievement… Vale broke records and finished as champions that season despite their manager Joe Schofield sadly dying partway through the season – it was a remarkable season and Griffiths certainly played his part.

The Welshman’s fine form for Vale continued in the next season. He netted another thirteen times as his form attracted the attention of top-flight club Everton. The Liverpool side shelled out £6,000 (a mighty fee in those days) for the 26 year-old who went on to have a star-studded career at Goodison Park. He won the League Title in 1932 and was also handed a Welsh International cap.

Griffiths went on to have spells with First Division West Bromwich Albion before returning to his native Wales for a spell with Cardiff City. After retiring from playing he then returned to Port Vale for a spell as a coach before World War Two brought football to a premature end.

How different things may have been if he hadn’t packed his bags and walked to Burslem back in 1926.


Phil GriffithsPhil Griffiths

Cult credentials: Walked to the club for a trial, promotion winner, League Title winner, future International

Games: 87 / Goals: 30