|Full name||Kenneth James Griffiths|
|Date of birth||2 April 1930|
|Place of birth||Abbey Hulton, Stoke-on-Trent, England|
|Date of death||9 August 2008(aged 78)|
|Abbey Hulton Youth Club|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
With Port Vale between 1945 and 1958, a bright period of the club's history, he scored 56 goals in 196 appearances in league and cup competitions. He helped the club to the Third Division North title and the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1953–54. He moved on to Mansfield Town in January 1958, before moving into non-league football with Stafford Rangers, Wellington Town, Sankeys, Macclesfield Town, Northwich Victoria, Nantwich Town and Wolstanton United. Griffiths died in August 2008, at the age of 78. He was survived by wife Nancy and daughter Valerie, grandchildren Andrea, Nicola, and Tracey, and five great-grandchildren. He died days apart from former teammate Selwyn Whalley.
Griffiths started playing football for Abbey Hulton Youth Club and then with Basil Hayward for Northwood Mission. During World War II he joined the Royal Air Force. He played inside-left for his unit's team.
He joined Port Vale as an amateur in June 1945 and signed professional forms in February 1950, making his debut under Gordon Hodgson two months later in the 1949–50 season. He scored his first goal at Vale Park on 31 March 1951 in a 4–3 win over Gillingham, and finished 1950–51 with two goals in nine games. He hit eight goals in 21 games in 1951–52, rising to prominence in the latter half of the season under the tutelage of Freddie Steele. He hit 14 goals in 47 games in 1952–53, as the "Valiants" finished second in the Third Division North, one point behind Oldham Athletic.
Grffiths played in every match of the club's 1953–54 FA Cup run prior to missing the semi-final defeat to West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park. He failed a late fitness test due a knee injury he initially picked up in the Second Round victory over Southport. He bagged a hat-trick in a 6–0 demolition of Rochdale on 28 November 1953, striking 16 goals in 36 league games in 1953–54, as Vale won the Third Division North title by an eleven-point margin. He hit two goals past Tottenham Hotspur of the First Division in front of a crowd of 50,684 at White Hart Lane in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup in 1954–55, though Vale lost the game 4–2. Griffiths went on to finish the season with seven goals in 33 games. He suffered a decline in form after a cartilage operation at the start of the 1955–56 season, though scored a hat-trick past Plymouth Argyle in a 3–1 home win on 25 February. He also scored past Potteries derby rivals Stoke City in a 1–1 draw at the Victoria Ground on 31 March 1956, and finished the season with seven goals in 21 appearances. He scored just once in 17 games in 1956–57, as Vale were relegated in last place of the Second Division, despite an upturn in form brought around by the arrival of new manager Norman Low. He played just three times in 1957–58, and was sold to Mansfield Town for a four-figure fee in January 1958.
Mansfield finished sixth in the Third Division North in 1957–58, and 20th in the Third Division in 1958–59, one place and five points above the relegation zone. He later played non-league football for Stafford Rangers, Wellington Town, Sankeys, Macclesfield Town, Northwich Victoria, Nantwich Town and Wolstanton United. He also became a player-coach of Michelin, player-assistant manager at Parkway, coach of Birches Head Hotel and then manager of the Staffordshire F.A. team.
Style of play
Former teammate Roy Sproson said that: "he was quick and had the ability to put the ball in the net" and was "highly regarded by his fellow players" despite being an "underrated player by the [Port] Vale public".
|Port Vale||1949–50||Third Division South||2||0||0||0||2||0|
|1950–51||Third Division South||8||2||1||0||9||2|
|1951–52||Third Division South||20||8||1||0||21||8|
|1952–53||Third Division North||44||13||2||1||46||14|
|1953–54||Third Division North||36||16||7||1||43||17|
|1957–58||Third Division South||3||0||0||0||3||0|
|Mansfield Town||1957–58||Third Division North||14||4||0||0||14||4|
|Macclesfield Town||1960–61||Cheshire County League||6||0||0||0||6||0|
- Port Vale
- Football League Third Division North runner-up: 1952–53
- Football League Third Division North winner: 1953–54
- Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 119. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.
- Tong, Graham (11 August 2008). "Port Vale: Tributes to hero who 'made team tick'". The Sentinel. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- Baggaley, Michael (27 March 2019). "Pride and heartbreak - Port Vale's FA Cup semi-final 65 years ago today". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
- Harper, Chris (10 February 1975). "Sproson's Eleven". The Sentinel. Archived from the original on 19 November 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- Ken Griffiths at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
- "Stats". silkmenarchives.org.uk. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
- Sherwin, Phil; Askey, Steve (2013), Men of Steele: The story of Port Vale's stunning 1953/54 season, Pass Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9926579-1-8