Derby County Women’s manager Sam Griffiths celebrated her 100th game in charge of the Ewe Rams on Sunday afternoon as they beat West Bromwich Albion Women 3-1 away from home.
Griffiths has enjoyed a successful career at Derby which began in 2009 when she first joined the club as a player, before injury ended her playing days.
In 2018, Griffiths was appointed manager of the club with her first game a 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough.
Overall, in her four years at the club Griffiths has won 61 of her 100 competitive games in her managerial tenure with 261 goals scored in the process.
Players Hannah Ward and Amy Sims, plus Head of Operations Duncan Gibb, offered their insight into what makes Sam a great person and manager.
Ward, captain of the club, a role Griffiths held in her playing career, and former teammate of the now manager, said: “As a person she is a massively family orientated.
“In general, I think she’s someone that demands that little bit of respect and as a manager she commands that respect.
“As a person you know that if you need to have those difficult conversations with her she’s happy to have those, they are really good sometimes when you’re struggling a bit, she’s there to have those conversations with you if you ever need.”
Sims, who has known Griffiths since her days in the Derby academy, said: “I had Sam in the Derby U17s so when I was in the academy, she was my coach and at first I was really scared of Sam.
“The more you get to know her, you have a laugh with her and the more you share the more you get to know her as a person too.”
Sims added that she is impressed by the professionalism Griffiths has brought to the club.
“When she took over the Derby job, she was professional and I think she’s really bought that professional side to Derby so she knows what she wants to get out of us and where the club wants to go,” she said.
“I think she’s doing the best she can to get us there and helping players develop to where we want to get too.”
Griffiths was a player when Gibb first started working for the Ewe Rams and he explains why she has lasted 100 games in charge of the club.
“I appointed her as first team manager and it was a decision that I have never regretted at any stage,” said Gibb.
“What you see is what you get and during her tenure as manager, she’s delivered the clubs highest finish in its 32-year history.
“She holds the post because she consistently delivers expectations, and in addition to that the communication between her and I and the person who owns the club has always been strong.
“We are quite adaptable, and I would say that this is why she continues to be in post and in my opinion be in post for a good period of time to come going forwards.”
Ward, Sims and Gibb were all in agreement that the games against Forest have been the standout matches so far in Griffiths’ tenure.
Ward said: “I think one of the big ones a lot of people will have gone for is the first game we played at Pride Park, playing against Nottingham Forest.
“It was a big occasion for the coaching staff and Sam for the first time being there, for players and fans and to come away with that 1-0 win topped it off nicely for everyone.”
Sims added: “The Pride Park game going down to ten players I think she got every decision spot on and we really had to pull together as a managerial team, a coaching team and players to get that win.”
Gibb said: “She’s got two wins over Forest at Pride Park under her belt so those games are the real standout ones just because of the amount of pressure that was involved in those situations.”
Griffiths’ victory over West Brom means that she has now won three of her six encounters with the West Midlands outfit.
Her 101st game at the helm comes this Sunday as the Ewes prepare for an away trip to Stoke City Ladies in the FA Women’s Cup.
CHLOE REYNOLDS AND CIARON MORRISON UOD