On paper, he was here for three years. On the pitch, he was here for a mere 32 games. But in my mind, the memory of Leigh Griffiths will live forever.
Sure, the impudent Scotsman might have been a wee tinker at times off the pitch but I always thought he was exemplary on it – irrespective of a grossly unfair post MK Dons criticism.
And for two memorable reasons alone (not to mention 13 goals at a great rate) he will go down as a personal cult hero, joining an elite band of men including Mark Kendall (RIP), Keith Downing, Alex Rae and Big Chris Iwelumo.
Back to those two moments:
1. Whipping the South Bank up in injury time just seconds before he took the winning penalty against Crawley. It was cheeky, it was nerveless and in a Wolves shirt, it was a sight none of us manic depressive wrecks thought we’d see. Naturally, he scored.
2. Mimicking Lee Hughes’ infuriating goal celebration, before nutmegging him, before posting a #megs hashtag on twitter. I was proud to say I was there to see Griffiths rub our arch enemy’s nose in it and the vision will go down as the most instantaneously joyous, euphoric and ‘have some of that’ moment I can ever remember in 25 years.
I yearned for more moments like those and now Griffiths has departed, so too has a Wolves player with a personality to ever get close to repeating them.
Like Ronnie O’Sullivan on the green baize, Griffiths made for compulsive viewing on the green grass, with or without the Rocket’s trophy cabinet to boast. Sure, there might be more assiduous professionals out there, but none with the personality to genuinely make me smile – and make me want to come back for more.
Leigh Griffiths was a lovable one-off, with an infectious ability to play the game like all South Bankers dream of doing every Sunday morning…
…With a smile, a swagger, and a rough edge or two to drive a manager barmy.
In keeping with today’s insufferable tendency for open letters, I am going to write one to a man who wore the number 9 with distinction.
From the moment you arrived to the moment you left, you successfully achieved what hundreds of non-entities failed to do over twice the length of time. You made me smile.
You made me smile when you fell asleep in pre-season training, you made me smile when you eventually came back from Hibs, and you made me smile when sledging trolls on twitter with all the subtlety of Frankie Boyle.
You had a whopping personality to bely your 5ft 10in frame and on behalf of my adoring 5 year-old son whose shirt bears your name, you will be missed.
Thanks for the memories.