Griffo the goal machine is back!
Striker Ian Griffiths has come out of retirement and rejoined Prestatyn Sports for the 2021-22 season.
The 36-year-old was previously a major figure in the Sports team which won the 2017-18 Welsh Alliance League Division Two title, scoring 28 goals.
He began the 2018-19 season on fire for Sports, bagging six goals in two Division One games, before the lure of a return to the club where he made his name, Prestatyn Town, proved too great.
Ian went on to win the Cymru North title with the Seasiders in 2019-20 and retired in August last year.
Now he has been enticed to put his boots on again for Sports, where he quickly became a cult hero.
John Hargreaves and Sion Williams’ side will begin the 2021-22 campaign at their brand new ground The Meadows, playing in the Tier 4 North Wales Coast East Premier Division.
Joint-manager Hargreaves said: “Griffo is back ! All at the Sports are happy to announce that Ian Griffiths has returned to the club for the 21/22 season.
“On a personal note I’d like to say how chuffed I am for the club to pull off such a coup. When Griffo left a couple of seasons back to fulfill some of his own playing dreams he left a massive void at the club.
“Not just his playing ability but also as a great team member and a popular figure with the lads. And to have him back is great for the club; we will once again get him fit as we did previously and reap the rewards from one of the best local strikers.
“This signing throws down an intent from us and shows we are looking to challenge for the title this season. After managing to hold onto all but one of the original squad from the last couple of seasons our experiences of playing at a higher level will stand us in good stead.”
Griffo himself cannot wait to take to the pitch again.
With hardly any other North Wales clubs below tier 1 having played competitively since March 2020 due to coronavirus, the striker will be in the same boat as most other players.
July 2021 we are finally all set to get underway again.
Griffo said: “I’ve come out of retirement because I haven’t had much time to train/keep fit through the pandemic at all because of my work commitments and this has had a massive effect on my mental health and also my physical health.
“I feel if I can get some sort of fitness back into my daily routine it will help me a lot and also whilst my legs are still working why not play for my local team in a local league with not as many commitments as I’ve had to give in the past.
“I feel the way things ended last time I was at Sports wasn’t very pleasant but it was an opportunity for me that I really couldn’t turn down to once again play for PTFC, where it all started for me.
“I’ve spoken to John and Sion now and the past is the past. I feel it’s the right time to come back now and try to help the club achieve everything they are thriving for. “They are all a great bunch of lads with some real local talent so I’m looking forward to the future. The club is achieving brilliant things right through the youth teams right up to the development team and then the senior team.
“With what Sports have done with building the new ground who knows where they can end up.”
Back in the mid-2000’s, a young Ian soon became a part of Prestatyn Town’s rise to prominence which was to deliver the most successful period in the club’s history.
He was a member of the invincibles which won the 2005-06 Welsh Alliance League title under Dave Fuller and two seasons later, led by player-manager Neil Gibson, was a key man in the squad crowned 2007-08 Cymru Alliance champions.
Town had reached the promised land of the Welsh Premier, and Griffo made club history when he scored the team’s first-ever goals in the top flight, netting both in their opening fixture, a 2-1 win over Airbus at Bastion Gardens in August 2008.
Griffo notched 12 goals that season, which turned out to be his best total in the WPL for the Seasiders. He has played in 76 WPL matches overall for Prestatyn, scoring 19 times.
In December 2011, Ian had a productive few months at Denbigh Town, then in 2012-13 moved on to Holywell Town in Johnny Haseldin’s first season in charge.
Griffo scored 16 times in 28 appearances for the Wellmen, who narrowly missed out on the Welsh Alliance title.
As mentioned above, Ian was later to star for Prestatyn Sports, before rejoining a Town outfit lifted a third Cymru North title. The ever-alert striker bagged doubles in big wins over Bangor City and Buckley Town in that 2019-20 season.
The adventure is now set to continue…..