There has been much debate following the Euro’s success of Spain, a lot of it prompted by our own manager Roberto Martinez as to the English mentality of dismissing young footballers as “not being big enough” to play the game at the top level and Spain’s sweeping dismissal of this philosophy.
Well, Wigan Athletic were proponents of the “if you’re good enough, you’re big enough” argument a good 20 or so years ago now when they plucked the diminutive Bryan Griffiths from obscurity at St Helens Town of the North West Counties league. Our very own Messi, Xavi, David Villa in stature if not in ability. Though Little Bri had plenty talent in his pint sized frame it has to be said.
Bryan arrived at Springfield Park in November 1988 and he made his Latics League debut on 5th November 1988 against Northampton Town at Springfield Park. It wasn’t the greatest of starts to his Latics career as he was substituted during the match which Latics lost 1-3. He played a total of 176+13 League games for Latics during which he scored 44 League goals. Not a bad return for a winger.
I have too many personal memories of Bri to recollect here so let’s just highlight three of the best: scoring at the Kop End at Anfield in the Rumbelows Cup; scoring directly from a corner in a 3-0 home win against Southend. And of course, his crowning glory – not only slotting home a penalty to beat Bolton Wanderers in a local derby at Springfield Park but then doing a lap of the perimeter in front of the away end whilst flicking the V’s at several thousand less than pleased Neanderthals from over the hill
He left Springfield Park in the summer of 1993 to join Blackpool. After a short loan spell at Scarborough he drifted into non league football and finished his career from where it all started, St Helens Town. He has still been known to turn out for the Latics legends team.
The TNS Top 50 was compiled last year and collected over 2,000 votes from Latics fans across a variety of platforms. There have been initial discussions with the club and other fan sites to turn this into a bigger survey and produce a book of the Top 100 Latics players next year with pen pictures written by fans
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