Saturday, 24 August 2013

Family footballers

With the football season underway and Gary Lineker appearing on Who Do You Think You Are last week, I thought it was time to stake my claim in England's football heritage.

Step forward John 'Jack' Griffiths, my great-grandfather, who played for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the club's early days.

John Griffiths c. 1898
Jack's brother, Hilary, also played for Wolves as did another brother, Jabez, on a few occasions. Interviewed in Wolverhampton's Express & Star newspaper at the age of 65, Jack recalled playing to attendences of 6,000 and told the reporter he didn't think football was as good then as it had been in his day.

Patrick Quirke's book 'The Origins of Wolverhampton Wanderers' tells the story of the club's formative years and its founding members.

Wolves was one of the first clubs in the new Football League of 1888, which consisted of 12 clubs, six from Lancashire - Preston North End, Accrington, Burnley, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers and Everton - and six from the Midlands - Aston Villa, Derby County, Notts County, Stoke, West Bromwich Albion and Wolves.

Already the spectre of transfer market controversies had begun, when Everton were accused of tempting Dan Doyle to return to their ranks with the promise of £5 per week and the tenancy of a pub!

And it wasn't long before goal-line technology was introduced to deal with regular disputes over whether the ball had gone between the posts. It was called a net!


  1. Hi, is there a link with Charles Griffiths ?
    Thank you

    1. Not that I'm aware but I suppose it's not impossible! Rugby's not so very far away from Wolverhampton, where John and his brothers were born. I'll dig around on the family tree and see what I can find. Trouble is, with Griffiths being such a common surname... ;-)