Interview: Former Wolves Defender Gives Us An Insight Into His Footballing Career

Becoming a professional football is a dream for many but a reality for few. A tiny percentage of those who chase that dream actually reach it, with the rest usually faltering between 14-21 and being thrown on the scrap heap before returning to an ordinary life. 

It is refreshing, then, when a player who works so hard, only to be told he is no longer needed at a club, to get another crack of the whip and rekindle the hope of carving a career in the beautiful game. 

After spending most of his childhood progressing through the youth ranks at Wolverhampton Wanderers, and then spending two years at League One side Brentford, Sam Griffiths put pen to paper at Conference side Braintree Town this summer.

The 20-year-old defender was kind enough to chat to us here at Footy Friends and give us an insight into the life of a young footballer trying to grasp the chance he has at climbing to the top.

At what age did you start playing football and tell us a bit about your footballing history to date.

I started playing football when I was about 9 or 10 years old. A lot of my friends from school were playing for my local team, so I joined, and within my first season I ended up joining Wolves at the age of 10. From then I was at Wolves until I was 18 and I did my scholarship there. Then I got a two year development squad contract at Brentford which recently came to an end, and now I am at Braintree.

 As a former youth player at Wolves and Brentford, what was the best piece of advice that was handed down to you that you can pass down to future players?

The most important thing is to have the right attitude. You have to focus. Progressing as a player through your teenage years,  all your mates are going out, but you have to be professional.

Is that something you found difficult?

No, I have spoken to a lot of people and I know there are a lot of people who want to be in my position. I know that if I put 100% into it I can potentially have a special career from it.

Who has been the inspiration behind you chasing a career in football?

I have had quite a few. My granddad used to be quite a good footballer in the local area when he was younger which is how I got started, but when I was younger I used to be a striker  – when Thierry Henry was at Arsenal – so he inspired me. I am a right-back now so players like Philipp Lahm are who I look at.

You captained the Brentford development squad, how disappointing was it to leave the club without a single first team appearance?

Yeah, I was captain for the development squad for all of last year, so it was very disappointing. I thought I was good enough and I was told by a couple of the backroom staff that I should have had my chance, but at the end of the day it’s down to the gaffer and he didn’t feel I was ready.  He was also under pressure at the time because of how close we were to promotion.

You had a loan spell at Carshalton Athletic at the beginning of the year, what did you take from your time there?

It was very useful for me. It was the first time I had played competitive football, so it was big learning curve. All that really mattered was winning, not so much the performance – It was very direct and physical but I really enjoyed it.

Was that a reason you were comfortable dropping down the leagues?

Definitely. I am at that age where I need to be playing regular football competitively. You don’t really gain anything from playing in the development squad and there is a chance that you’ll end up dropping out of the game. I’d rather make a name for myself and work my way back up the leagues.

Moving onto your current club Braintree, they kicked off their season with a 1-1 draw at Hereford at the weekend. You weren’t involved in the game, why was that?

It’s just one of those things. The gaffer pulled me aside and told me it won’t always be like this, you’ll get your chance, and when you get it, take it. I’m new and I knew I didn’t have a right to it, I am not going to walk into the team. All the players know that and it creates healthy competition within the squad.

What are your aims and expectations (both individually and as a club) for the season ahead, if indeed you have any?

Yeah of course, you always need to have aspirations. As a team, we need to stay in the league ultimately. We have been in the conference for a good few years now so we want to stay in the league and progress up the table. We have a good, strong squad so we are confident we can do well.

Individually I want to break into the first team and make a name for myself and eventually progress through the leagues, and hopefully end up in the Premier League.

Which leads us to the next question – Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Personally, I feel that if I keep progressing and get enough games with Braintree there is nothing stopping me from eventually making it to the top level.

And to finish, tell us what you get up to outside of football.

I mainly just socialise with mates, a lot of who are footballers themselves. I have got a few mates at Shrewsbury [Town] and we all like to do the same things. Because football is such a demanding sport we tend to relax, play a bit of Fifa, maybe a bit of snooker and other things to take our mind of things. Ultimately though everything comes down to football as it’s our lives at the moment.

This interview was organised by The British Sports Museum the Number One Football Memorabilia Company in the UK. Please visit