Leighton Griffiths is one of the greatest footballers ever to emerge from the Vale of Conwy – simple as.
Life begins for the versatile performer today as he celebrates his 40th birthday, having been born on April 29, 1981.
Leighton is best known for his long-service to Llanrwst United both as a player and manager, although he has also turned out for Llandudno, Rhydymwyn, Mynydd Isa and Glan Conwy.
Among his early career achievements were being named Gwynedd League Player of the Season in 2001-02 and lifting the Gwynedd League title with Llanrwst in the 2003-04 season.
He once won top goalscorer, players’ player, managers’ player and league’s player of the year in the same season at Gwydir Park.
Another major event came in 2006-07, when Leighton travelled with the Rwsters to take on The New Saints in the Welsh Cup second round.
Reigning Welsh Premier title-holders TNS, who faced Liverpool in the Champions League the season before, were given a great contest by their Welsh Alliance visitors before winning 3-1, Adam Hyde with a wonder goal for the underdogs.
In 2007-08, Leighton was part of a Llandudno side flying high in the Cymru Alliance which entertained Welsh Premier outfit Cefn Druids in the Welsh Cup.
Tudno led at half time after Leighton cut in from the right wing and lashed a cracking shot into the top corner to raise home hopes of an upset. The goal can still be viewed on You Tube.
Unfortunately for the Maesdu Park hosts, Druids went on to win the tie 2-1 in extra time.
Leighton has twice led Llanrwst United to glory in the Barritt/Mawddach Cup – in 2012-13 and 2018-19.
In the latter final, the Rwsters caused a big upset when they beat Welsh Alliance League champions Llangefni Town 2-1, Callum Parry and Aron Jones with the goals.
Leighton’s latest stint as Llanrwst player-manager began in March 2018, when he took over from Barry Owen.
As a player, he is renowned for his heart and 100% commitment, but also being calm in possession and always trying to show for the ball.
Although mainly a defender with Llanrwst, he can do a job anywhere and always gets goals.
Deadly from free kicks and the penalty spot, he can also do the spectacular, a goal from the halfway line against Glan Conwy one of his career stand-outs.
Leighton announced his retirement from playing at the end of 2017-18 due to a back injury, but he later reversed the decision and donned the boots once more.
A Vale of Conwy football legend – happy birthday Leighton Griffiths.