One of the most notable pieces of business on transfer deadline day was the extension of left back Scott Griffiths’ loan from Peterborough to Chesterfield for a further two months. A solid performer, Griffiths first appeared on these pages over a year ago, when impressing my fellow blogger Lanterne Rouge whilst playing for Dagenham. Soon after, he moved to Peterborough United, where an initial loan move was made permanent in January 2010. Unfortunately, Griffiths has since fallen victim to the revolving door that has been the Posh manager’s office over the past 18 months and was told earlier this season that he was surplus to requirements. Seizing his opportunity to play regularly at the disgustingly titled ‘B2Net Stadium’, Griffiths will be hoping to get his promising career back on track.
Whether Griffiths ever makes it back to the lofty heights of the Championship remains to be seen, but at just 22 he still has the time to develop and work his way back up. He was certainly not the worst Peterborough player last season and, like many in the side, suffered more from a lack of experience at that level rather than a lack of ability. The Peterborough side that got relegated had a lot of promising players in, but lacked the guile and know-how to grind out results. This is partly due to the Posh’s policy of buying talented young players with ‘resale value’ and partly due to owner Darragh MacAnthony’s reported £2,000-per-week wage cap — laudable if not realistic in the Championship. If they return to that league next season, then they will likely do so a little older and wiser, and perhaps have a better crack at it this time round. In Gary Johnson, Posh also have a manager with a good deal more knowledge of what is required to succeed at that level than any of Peterborough’s managers last time round.
For now, though, Johnson and his cohorts will have to settle for facing Griffiths’ former club, Dagenham and Redbridge, a club that has made the most of its meagre resources (it has only two paid non-football staff) to play at its highest-ever level this season. Veteran manager (and Dagenham fan) John Still has used his extensive knowledge of non-league football and ability to mould uncut diamonds to fashion a side built of youth graduates and those who have a point to prove after not quite making it in League football first time round. Players such as Mackail-Smith, Dominic Green, Tresor Kandol and, most recently, Paul Benson have all improved as players at the Victoria Road and moved on to bigger clubs, and in the process helped the Daggers to rise four divisions over the last decade. Benson reflected upon his move to Charlton last week: ‘It’s a testament to how good this club is and how far they’ve come that it’s a tough decision to make.’ Perennial strugglers in the Conference in the late 1990s, Dagenham have now become established as one of the South’s most up-and-coming clubs. In an age where clubs are having to learn to cut their cloth accordingly, theirs is also an excellent example to follow and shows how small clubs can be successful without overspending.
Despite what appears to be an untimely end to his time at Peterborough, Griffiths also continues to show promise. He has started well at Chesterfield, another ambitious club with a highly rated young manager in John Sheridan. Having missed out on promotion in each of the last two seasons, the Spireites will be keen to make amends this time round and have started strongly, currently sitting in third place. A permanent move for Griffiths may well be on the cards and, indeed, if they are able to sign players of his quality then promotion can surely not be too far round the corner.