Despite his football career being interrupted for seven years by the Second World War, Maldwyn ‘Mal’ Griffiths made a total of 409 first team appearances for Leicester City between 1938 and 1956, one of which was in the 1949 FA Cup Final.
Only five players in the Club’s history played more games than Griffiths, only Mike Stringfellow scored more goals for the Club as a specialist winger, and only Sep Smith had a first team career which lasted longer than Mal’s.
He also won 11 Welsh caps, playing alongside such great players as John Charles, Ivor Allchurch and Cliff Jones.
Merthyr Tydfil-born Mal broke into the Arsenal first team as an 18-year-old in February 1938, making his debut against Leicester City. His five goals in nine games before the end of the season helped to secure the First Division title for Arsenal.
Early the next season, Mal, looking for regular first team football, moved to top flight Leicester City for a fee of £750. He immediately became a first team regular, but his new team was relegated at the end of the season.
Mal Griffiths joined Leicester City for a fee of £750.
Three games into the next season, following the outbreak of the Second World War, league football was suspended for the next seven years. Mal was conscripted into the 2/5th Battalion in the Welch Regiment. He played in the army team which won the 38th (Welsh) Divisional Soccer Competition in 1943.
Although he played as a guest for a number of clubs in wartime regional leagues, Leicester City lost touch with him until they tracked him down in March 1946, as he returned to Filbert Street to play 10 games in the Wartime Football League South.
League Football resumed in August 1946 and Mal played on Leicester’s right wing for the next 10 years. His goal in the 1949 FA Cup Final was the first-ever goal scored by a Leicester City player at Wembley. He was also a key player in the side which won the Second Division title in 1954. His crosses provided many assists for the all-time British record goalscorer, Arthur Rowley.
Mal joined Burton Albion in June 1956 and, in April 1957, he was awarded a testimonial match at Filbert Street, when Leicester City faced an international XI team containing such stars as Bert Trautmann, Roy Paul, Mel Charles, Dave Bowen and Johnny Hancocks.
In 1958, Mal and his wife Jesse took over the now demolished Queen’s Head in Wigston. Sadly, Mal died soon after his 50th birthday in April 1969.
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