Former QPR striker aims for promotion with Harrow Borough
PUBLISHED: 18:27 06 August 2013 | UPDATED: 18:27 06 August 2013
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New Harrow Borough signing Leroy Griffiths has some very succinct words of advice for his younger team-mates: "Do everything that I did not do".
Griffiths joined Borough from Sutton United last week, continuing a long and varied career in which the 36-year-old has played for no fewer than 15 clubs since starting out at Hampton & Richmond Borough in 1999.
The man from south London was a late developer on the pitch, snapped up by QPR for £40,000 at the age of 25 in 2001, and he says a childhood of ‘bad habits’ was one reason he did not quite fulfil his potential.
And having now completed his move to Earlsmead, Griffiths is keen to ensure that the young players at his new club do not fall into the same traps which snared him and so many others.
“It might sound strange, but it’s true, I would tell them to do the opposite to me,” he said. “It’s not that I have any regrets, my whole career was a learning curve. But I wasn’t as professional as I should have been.
“Young players today think they’re going to be the next Ronaldo or Messi, but I know from experience that it does not work like that. You have to work for everything, you can’t expect to have it handed to you.
“That’s what I think I can offer: guidance. I have fire in my belly. I’m looking at the last four years of my career here, and if I can help the young kids along, then great.”
Griffiths was a long-term target for Borough manager Dave Anderson, ever since Anderson’s days as AFC Wimbledon manager.
When Anderson led his side against Fisher Athletic in the 2006 Ryman League Premier Division play-offs, Griffiths won the match for Fisher almost single-handedly, scoring twice in a 2-1 win.
“I remember it well – in fact, I still have the DVD!” Griffiths added. “(Fisher manager) Justin Edinburgh had sent me on loan to Aldershot, I think he thought I was a bit wild. But he brought me back for the play-off and it was a good move.
“I scored twice. One was a rebound and one I just stuck past the keeper. It was a good day for me because AFC Wimbledon were the team to beat in those days.”
Griffiths went on to play for a host of sides including Gillingham, Havant & Waterlooville and Sutton United.
And as he targets promotion with Harrow Borough in the near future, he remains grateful to the QPR manager who plucked him from non-league football more than a decade ago.
“Ian Holloway took a chance on me, he took me out of bad habits.
“I loved playing for him. If he had a problem with you, he would come and say it to your face.
“There are not many managers like him nowadays. If there were, maybe football would not have the problems it does.”
n Griffiths scored twice as Harrow Borough drew 3-3 with a Crystal Palace XI on Saturday.
Christopher Benjamin was also on target, but Palace hit back three times to secure a draw.
Meanwhile, Hendon beat Marlow 2-1 to make it four wins from five pre-season matches. Dave Diedhiou continued his fine form by hitting the opening goal from Tony Taggart’s cross, before Jefferson Louis made it 2-0 in the second half. Marlow grabbed a late consolation, but the Greens held on for the win.