20 in our Top 25 Players list – Harry Griffiths, written by Murton_Jack
Harry Griffiths will always be remembered as one of the club’s finest servants. He joined the club as a professional in 1949.
He started out as a left winger and earned 1 international cap for Wales but he was later converted into a left back, playing a vital role especially in 1961 when the Swans won the Welsh Cup.
During his playing career at the Vetch, he played 421 games and scored 72 goals.
Griffiths played alongsides the likes of Tom Kiley, Terry Medwin and Ivor Allchurch but only once during our 15-year spell did we look like challenging for promotion to the top flight.
That chance was in the 1955/56 season when we led the table. However, an injury to Tom Kiley, who was regarded as the backbone of the side, saw a drop in form from November onwards. Despite the fact he was never replaced, plus the sale of some of our best players, we remained in promotion contention right up around April, where we were only 2 points behind 2nd placed Liverpool with a game in hand. However the results dropped and we finished the season in 10th place.
Harry Griffiths was involved in Swansea’s excellent cup run in the 1954/55 season, taking top flight Sunderland to an FA Cup 5th round replay.
Towards the end of Griffiths’ spell at the Vetch, the Swans were battling against relegation, and after surviving on a few occassions, they were relegated to the Third Division in 1965.
15 years after his arrival, he joined Merthyr Tydfil in 1964 but rejoined Swansea 3 years later as coach.
This was one of many roles he enjoyed at the Vetch, he was also chief scout, trainer, physio, assistant manager and then became manager in February 1975.
After relegation to the Third Division in 1965, two years later and they suffered relegation back and found themselves in the Fourth in 1967. Despite promotion in 1969/70, the Swans were back in Division Four when Harry Griffiths took over in 1975.
Despite not guiding them to promotion success, Griffiths turned the team around and put the foundations in place for Toshack to take over and to guide the team to promotion to Division Three in 1978.
Despite promising performances at the start of the 77/78 season, Griffiths resigned as manager, doubting his ability to take the club any further. He worked with Toshack as his assistant until his tragic death on 25th April 1978. He died of a heart-attack in the club’s treatment room on the day that Swansea beat Scunthorpe to clinch promotion to the Third Division.
Harry Griffiths will always be remembered as one of Swansea’s biggest all-time legends, spending nearly 30 years at the Vetch Field.
Links to the Top 25 Players:
25 – Chris Coleman
24 – John Cornforth
23 – Dean Saunders
22 – Lee Trundle
21 – John Toshack