PICTURE by Holyhead Hotspur.
Age: 30 years old.
Current club: Holyhead Hotspur Reserves (Anglesey League).
Former clubs: Tranmere Rovers, Holyhead Hotspur, Trearddur Bay and Holyhead Town.
OFTEN times, certain players can be working their socks off for a team but still not receive the credit or praise they deserve for their efforts. This season, for me, that’s been the case for Mike Edwards at Holyhead Hotspur Reserves.
An experienced head within an otherwise very youthful side in the Anglesey League, the central midfielder has been superb throughout for his club. He really knows how to make things tick for his side and he works tirelessly both on and off the ball.
But what made him the player he is today? Edwards explains: “Campbell Harrison (former Hotspur manager) gave me the chance to first play football at senior level and really got the best out of me. I’ve been lucky enough to play under some very good managers including Osian Roberts and Gus Williams.
“I enjoyed playing for Andy Batsford for Hotspur Reserves, he got me back to enjoying the game. I also have to give a special mention to Tom Scott, who’s doing an amazing job this season by keeping faith in the young lads and you can see them improving each week”.
Among the several top young talents at the club this season are AFE’s Young Player of the Season for 2018/19 Casey Gregg (18, below), who’s bagged 11 goals. You also have defender Cameron Eaton (18) who burst onto the in the same season and Phil Jones, who at only 16, has been superb in his debut season in senior football.
Asked about what he thinks of the prospects on show around him this season, Edwards added: “I definitely think Hotspur as a whole are going the right way forward with giving you the chance. In previous seasons, it’s been experience over youth, but as you’ve seen this year, giving youth the chance is paying off.
“You have to give credit to Darren Garmey (first team manager who has introduced several young players into his side too) – he isn’t afraid to give young players the chance.
“It’s a pleasure to play alongside them as they’re all willing to learn and work hard for each other. Tom Scott’s doing a brilliant job with The Reserves.”
The interview with Edwards this week also allowed him some time to reflect on his career to date – from being a youth player at Tranmere Rovers to winning trophies on home soil in Holyhead.
The 30-year-old added: “The highlight of my career has to be winning the treble with Hotspur (2011/12). That season was amazing and that was some squad we had back then.
“But I’ve also had a few low points too. Getting relegated from the Cymru Alliance was one of them. Another one would be losing in the FAW Cup final because that’s one trophy I would have loved to have one.”
In terms of the best player he’s come up against, Edwards says its “The Cofi Messi” aka Caernarfon Town’s Darren Thomas who takes that accolade. Speaking about the best players he’s played alongside, he added: “That’s a very tough question, as I’ve played alongside so many quality players.
“I’ll be sitting on the fence here because it’s between three players. Kenleigh Owen growing up was untouchable and still to this day is quality. Jay Gibbs on his day is unbelievable and makes football look easy. Melvin McGinness (below) is another one who doesn’t look like a footballer but he’s unreal. He’s fast, good in the air, strong and scores plenty of goals.”
Amid the coronavirus pandemic which is ongoing it can be easy to forget that the football is still currently ONGOING. So what does Edwards think of the season making a potential comeback?
He said: “I really hope it does continue but people’s health is more important than anything. I have my fingers crossed because we have got so much left to play for.
“We’ve got the Dargie Cup final (against Cemaes Bay) to look forward to which is the most prestigious cup you can win at this level. We’ve also got two great chances in some of the other cups.
“We’re also not far off Cemaes Bay and Mountain Rangers in the league so, if the season does return, we will keep doing what we’re doing and keep the pressure on them.”
As a final question to keep entertained he was asked “If you could be one pro footballer, who would it be and why?”, to which he replied: “Steven Gerrard. The guy was quality and great to watch. A solid tackler, scorer of great goals and was a leader.”
Cheers for the chat mate and all the best to you and The Reserves if and when the season eventually returns!