Goal machine Rhys Griffiths delighted to join the Exiles
RHYS Griffiths could have signed for Newport County AFC several times in the past, but believes it is “destiny” that sees him arrive at Rodney Parade in time to boost their promotion dream.
The 32-year-old is a genuine Welsh Premier League legend, scoring a phenomenal 237 goals in 294 appearances for Cwmbran Town, Haverfordwest, Carmarthen, Llanelli and latterly Port Talbot. However, the full-time firefighter was finally tempted into the professional ranks last summer, joining Ebbw Vale’s Carl Fletcher, then manager of Plymouth Argyle.
However, a long injury layoff and the sacking of Fletcher cut short Griffiths’ time at Home Park and he’s been in “informal” talks with Exiles boss Justin Edinburgh since his release.
Griffiths is currently on sabbatical from the fire service and his proud patriotism, coupled with a desire to prove people wrong who dismiss the WPL, made him determined to join the revolution at Rodney Parade.
“They’ve tried to sign me a few times in the past, that’s true, but this time it feels like fate, it’s the perfect move at the perfect time,” he told the Argus.
“I’ve been talking to Justin Edinburgh for a couple of weeks informally and I’m really excited to be here.
“I’ve of course had the chance to come before, but it was never right.
“I wasn’t willing to give up the fire fighting to play non-league football (County then in the Conference South) and I was clear I’d only go on sabbatical if I had the chance to play in the Football League.
“Over the years I’ve had lots of offers but never felt they were right. It was often to go for a trial and I felt that wasn’t right for me.
“Since I’ve left Plymouth I’ve had lots of offers and options, but I wanted to sign for a Welsh club, that means a lot to me.
“It’s like I’m on sabbatical from the fire service and County are on sabbatical from the Football League.
“That’s where they belong and if I can get one goal or one assist to take them there this move will be totally worthwhile. It will mean more to me because they are a Welsh club.”
Griffiths should arguably have got the call from a club playing the other side of the Severn Bridge long before last summer, but believes playing in a supposedly weak division hurt his prospects.
“I suppose I’ve been a victim of circumstance in that people don’t think it’s a big thing to score goals in the WPL,” he said.
“It’s a much better standard than people think and ex-County players like Steve Jenkins would tell you that.
“Lee Trundle did ok but wasn’t prolific in the Welsh Premier League and then joined a League One club. I believe in my abilities and think I can fit in well at Newport.
“I’ve seen a couple of games and they’ve got very good attacking players, but none are like me. I’d like to think I’m a handful and hopefully I can make an impact.”
Griffiths has been tipped to have a big impact at County by Craig Hughes, one of only two men to score 50 goals for the Exiles in the past decade.
Hughes played with Griffiths in the WPL and contacted the Argus to say: “Griff is a good player that will add another dimension to the County attack and get goals to fire NCFC back to the Football League.”