Joel Griffiths was called by Nathan Tinkler after the Newcastle Jets loss to Adelaide United mid-way through the 2014-15 A-League season. When asked what was happening in the team Griffiths as a senior player didn’t hold back.
‘Listen the dressing shed is shot, it is gone. I will play no matter what, whoever the coach is, but there are players in there that have no respect for the coach, senior players, and it filtered through to the younger players,’ said Joel Griffiths.
The following day five senior players including Griffiths were sacked by the club.
At half time in the Adelaide United match Griffiths saw an altercation between a player and Newcastle Jets manager Phil Stubbins.
‘There was a bust up at half time with one of the players, and it was a pretty heated bust up. Straight away, I have seen dressing sheds go and that’s the worst I have ever seen a dressing shed go,’ Griffiths recalls.
‘I knew the writing was on the wall, even if he [Stubbins] stayed.’
Whilst 4 of the 5 sacked players did leave the club, performances on and off the pitch didn’t improve. Ultimately at the end of the season FFA took over control of the embattled club from Tinkler and relieved Stubbins of his role as manager.
‘Phil, just doesn’t know how to get the best out of his players, I think that was his downfall,’ believes Griffiths.
Griffiths started his career in the NSL before securing a move to Switzerland with Neuchâtel Xamax. After playing regularly for the club and making 72 appearances a moved to Leeds United eventuated ahead of the 2006 World Cup.
‘100 per cent, I would have been in the 2006 World Squad, because I was playing regularly for Neuchâtel Xamax . When I moved to Leeds I didn’t play for maybe 2 -3 months and that was due to visa reasons,’ said Griffiths.
‘I was just about to be put into the team, and the team went on massive 10 game winning streak, so it was almost impossible to get into that squad and then when I did get a chance I probably didn’t take it as best I could.’
After a successful period back with Newcastle Jets, when the club won its first A-League Grand Final, Griffiths moved to Beijing Guon.
Playing some of his careers best football in China and the Asian Champions League, Griffiths was overlooked from the 31 man provisional squad for the 2010 World Cup by Australian manager Pim Verbeek. Griffiths blasted his omission telling media:
“There was no phone call, not even a text. Not once did he come and watch a game. He made the effort to watch the third division in England or third division [in] Italy, and sometimes they [the Australian players] were not even on the bench. It really pisses me off when he said we have better strikers than Joel Griffiths, how the fuck would he know? He's never seen me for two years and when he did I was [A-League] MVP and golden boot”
‘It upset me, saying he had better strikers because I didn’t agree with that,’ Griffiths reflects now on his omission.
‘He wanted a robot and I am not that sort of Robot.’
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