It is sad to report the death of former Coventry City player Vernon Griffiths who passed away on 27 April in Birmingham. Born in 1936 Vernon’s talent was spotted at an early age and he was on West Brom’s books as an apprentice after leaving school. He was playing for Sheldon Town when City spotted him and signed him in 1954. After two seasons as a regular in the reserves Vernon, a lively wing-half was given his first-team chance in Billy Frith’s first game in charge in September 1957, a 3-1 win at Brentford. A week later, on his home debut, he scored his only goal, the winner against Colchester. He kept his place for twelve games in the dreadful 1957-58 season but after a run of defeats he lost his place to Iain Jamieson. Vernon showed some promise but found the competition from the likes of Iain Jamieson, Brian Nicholas and Ron Farmer too great. After appearing on the right-wing in the opening two games of the 1958-59 season he was back in the reserves. In 1959 he signed for Rugby Town. Lol Harvey remembers Vernon with affection: ‘He was a quick player and loved to attack. We met up at the Legends Day a couple of years ago and had a good chat about those days. I was really surprised to hear he had cancer and I feel very sad.’
Vernon’s funeral takes place at Lodge Hill Cemetery, Selly Oak, Birmingham at 1.30 pm on Tuesday 10 May.
The season ends at Carrow Road today and City fans will share Norwich City’s celebrations at their second successive promotion, the first such feat since Joe Royle’s Manchester City team in 1999 and 2000. All credit to Paul Lambert who has shown that shrewd purchases of good young players from the lower divisions allied to a passing style of football can pay rewards. Former Coventry City defender Elliott Ward has proved to many that he is good enough at this level after being ‘frozen out’ by Chris Coleman and another City reject, Leon Barnett played his part in the Canaries’ success before picking up an injury in February. Few City fans would have predicted success for the Canaries with these two in the centre of defence.
Richard Keogh played every minute of every league game this season. He is the first player to achieve this feat since Gary McAllister in 1996-97 not Brian Borrows in 1990-91. Thanks to Paul O'Connor for reminding me of this.