Mike Edwards’ move to Carlisle is one that both confuses and concerns me in equal measure.
Concern, because the man we christened Steady (perfect in both a rhyming and performing sense) has found himself in pastures new where I’m not so sure his skill set will go down so well at a new club. It’s hard to not feel a sense of protectiveness over the man who quite literally experienced it all with us.
Whilst we have the likes of Lee Hughes and Neal Bishop as symbols for the new (born and raised thanks to the fraudulent Munto Finance) Notts County, Eddy is something else altogether. This is a man who saw us through the darker days, those when each season would begin knowing full well that all that awaited you over the next 46 games was a relegation dogfight.
In his five seasons leading to the League Two title in 2009/10, Notts finished outside the bottom six only once – such loyalty is a rare beast in modern football.
It’s allegiance such as this that earns Edwards a great deal of leeway when it comes to his on the field efforts though. And in a new home I can’t be sure that his performances will be quite so accepted.
Make no mistake, Edwards is as solid a defender as you’ll find, your archetypal no thrills centre back. He’s the calming influence who’ll shore things up when it’s needed most – more often that not when he’s putting his laces through the ball from defence and out for a throw-in. Frowned upon perhaps, but it’s these contributions which you’ll find invaluable at times of immense pressure.
The confusion comes in me not being sure who wins in this deal – other than (as was pointed out to me) our young prospect Haydn Hollis. Notts County lose it’s most loyal servant in recent history whilst Edwards will likely find himself with a considerably smaller margin for error in future amongst his new club’s following.
But for Carlisle? I’m not sure how much a 32-year-old who’s only played a bit part in the promotion push of your nearest rivals is the signal of intent that so many supporters want in pre-season. It had become hard to picture Eddy being anything more than a squad player for Notts in the coming campaign.
If he’s been brought in for a similar role though – you’ve done a great bit of business.
Having been through those relegation and promotion battles in such a short space of time, his experience alone around the squad will pay dividends behind the scenes for your younger players.
Having proof read what I’ve written, i’m more than aware of the multiple clichés that have riddled this write-up – but in talking up Edwards they’re most certainly apt. The man is a model professional who will be a considerable loss at Meadow Lane, though maybe more-so in the changing room than on the field.
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