Divided loyalties for ex-Newcastle Utd and Stoke City man Andy Griffin

OLD BOY ... former Newcastle and Stoke defender Andy Griffin, right.
OLD BOY ... former Newcastle and Stoke defender Andy Griffin, right.

ANDY Griffin spent the best years of his career at Newcastle United.

The defender, now plying his trade at non-league Chester, also started his career at tomorrow’s opponents Stoke City.

And Griffin, now 35, is intrigued by the Premier League fixture, which will have a significant bearing on where ninth-placed Newcastle finish the season given that Mark Hughes’s side are six points behind them in 10th place.

“It’s a difficult one to call because there’s isn’t much between the two teams at the moment,” said Griffin, who is yet to decide whether he will hang up his boots at the end of the season.

“A lot depends on which Newcastle turns up.

“Will it be the team that can score three, four or five? Or the team than can concede three, four or five?

“In saying that, it wouldn’t surprise me if it finished just 1-0 to Stoke!”

He added: “(Newcastle) are a bit hot and cold with their inconsistency, and you just don’t know what team is going to turn up on the day.

“One minute they can be great, the next minute not so great.

“But when you look at the league table and see the respectable positions of both Stoke and Newcastle, you have to say they should both be pleased with their season so far.”

Kenny Dalglish signed Griffin for United in 1998, and the right-back went on to play a key role in the club’s renaissance under Sir Bobby Robson, famously scoring a dramatic winner against Juventus in the Champions League.

“The two clubs close to my heart are Stoke and Newcastle, simply because I spent such a long time at Newcastle,” said Griffin.

“Although things didn’t always go smoothly in terms of the number of games I played (for United), it was the quality of the games that stick out.

“I had some fantastic times up there playing with two of my heroes in Stuart Pearce and Duncan Ferguson and some great managers.

“It was very exciting to go to such a fantastic club in such a wonderful city.”