Interview: Dave Edwards on Wolves exit – and his new book

If you were going to pick a footballer as a likely candidate to write a book, Dave Edwards would be pretty high on most people’s lists.

Edwards was one of Wolves' longest serving players in recent decades (© AMA / Sam Bagnall)
Edwards was one of Wolves' longest serving players in recent decades (© AMA / Sam Bagnall)

The former Wolves midfielder, as so many have read, seen and heard over the years, isn’t exactly your average footballer when it comes to interviews, or indeed blogs, as those who followed his injury comeback missives in 2016 can testify.

Perhaps the only surprise is that ‘Dave Edwards – Living My Dream’ has been written while the Welsh international is still very much in his playing days, with the 31-year-old hopeful he’s got a good few years left in him yet.

As Edwards told the Express & Star, though, it feels like the right time.

“It’s always something I’ve wanted to do – I just didn’t know it would come during my career,” he said.

“In the past two or three years I’ve got in the habit of writing a journal – at the end of every day I’d scribble down general thoughts and feelings of what’s gone on, particularly during Euro 2016 as I was conscious I didn’t want to forget any of the experiences.

Edwards' book has been written with Wolves' head of media Paul Berry

“After the Euros, which was such a magical occasion, it felt like the right time to share what had been an incredible few weeks.

“With the help of Paul Berry at Wolves who I’m very good friends with we developed what is hopefully a good insight into a major tournament and also my career to date.”

That career to date has taken in four clubs – Shrewsbury Town, Luton Town, Wolves and now Reading – as well as 43 Wales caps in a total of more than 500 career appearances.

Not that he remembers most of them...

“I can only remember about 50!” Edwards joked.

“For the book I’ve been looking through the archives at all the fixtures and it was nice to remember some of the early Shrewsbury games in particular, it brought back different emotions and things I’d completely forgotten about.

“As well as the Euros there’s a bit on my childhood, on Shrewsbury, a bit on Luton and then a few chapters on Wolves, obviously I was there for almost 10 years – I could have done a book just about that.”

Edwards left Molineux in a rush in August with a £1million transfer to Reading which took just 24 hours from start to finish.

He initially didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to the Wolves faithful, so was grateful to take to the pitch at half time during the recent draw with Sunderland.

While of course disappointed to depart Molineux, the man who scored 44 goals in gold and black said it was definitely the right move to make.

“I’d have found chances very limited in that squad,” Edwards candidly admits.

“I needed to be playing.

The 31-year-old left Molineux in August (© AMA / Sam Bagnall)

“As tough as it’s been on my family in terms of moving away from home it was definitely the right thing to do.

“I left so quickly – I found out on the Friday afternoon that Reading were interested and it was announced on the Saturday.

“When Wolves came to the Madejski (last month), because of the situation of the game and us losing I didn’t feel it was right to go over and make a scene with a big clap in front of the away end.

“So it was nice to do it properly at Molineux and I couldn’t believe the ovation I got, it was really special.

“I didn’t fall out with anyone at Wolves, I think the manager is top draw and he was nothing but fair to me.

“Wolves are lucky to have a coach of his quality – and that’s just from me seeing pre-season and the first month of the season.”

Edwards is well placed to assess how his former employers can do this season – and beyond.

He spoke regularly to Wolves chairman Jeff Shi and believes ‘everything is in place’ for Wolves to establish themselves in the Premier League.

“Jeff would quite often speak to the senior players like me Danny Batth, Carl Ikeme and Conor Coady – we had lots of conversations and when things weren’t going well we had some really good meetings.

“The stuff he was saying, you knew Fosun would be there for a long time, its not about just a quick fix and throwing money at it.

“They’ve got a detailed plan, I think they really know what they’re doing.

“They made some rash decisions last year but now they’re in a place where they can see the long term vision at the club.

“It’s never a given in this league but if anyone finishes above Wolves they’ll have done terrifically well – I think Wolves will win the league at a canter.

Edwards played for Wales at Euro 2016

“And if they do go up it wont be like 2009 when we were fighting to stay in the league...if Wolves were in the Premier League now I think they’d finish towards mid table, if not higher.

“Then with more experience, more players coming in, that’ll only get stronger.

“I can see them establishing themselves – everything is in place in terms of the owners, the funds, the manager and the infrastructure.”

While Edwards speaks fondly of his Wolves days, Reading are now his focus as he looks to, in a perfect world, win promotion alongside Nuno Espirito Santo's team.

The Royals are experiencing an inconsistent campaign and are rooted in mid table – 10 points off both the play-offs and the relegation zone.

Edwards believes that on paper Reading are certainly good enough for a play-off spot.

"We had a sloppy start and we're playing catch-up a bit now," he said.

"We think we're one of the better teams in the league – I think we're as good as any other team bar Wolves and should be in that top six.

"You can move really quickly in this league – hopefully we can do it this year.

"It's difficult when you move to a new club to settle in, even more so under Jaap Stam because he's so tactical and you need to know the way he plays inside out.

"I've found in the past seven or eight games I've been playing a more attacking role, I was in more of a holding role when i started whereas now I'm more of a number eight going box to box."

While moving to and settling in at Reading has occupied most of his time in recent months Edwards has still been heavily involved in his Little Rascals venture, which includes a play centre in Shrewsbury and a charitable foundation, for which his proceeds from the book will go to.

"As a business it's doing really well, going from strength to strength and we're looking to expand.

Edwards at Little Rascals in Shrewsbury

"The book and fundraisers are really important, we rely on those for the courses we do and things like that.

"Initially we set out to raise funds for children with disabilities for equipment or holidays.

"We found out quickly parents wanted more of our time, with after school clubs or one on one mentoring.

"It's really progressing but its all about the funds – we're not funded by the government so this book will hopefully raise some money for that."

With charity work and a potential future in coaching or management to look forward to, Edwards is well set for retirement – but that's a few years away yet.

Before then he wants another crack at the Premier League – and hopefully another tournament with Wales.

"Internationally we'll see who the new manager is – the last thing I want is to be a player who's going on trips but isn't involved and taking up valuable experience from the younger lads," a typically modest Edwards added.

"Euro 2020 is an obvious target and also the Premier League – it'd be amazing to get back there.

"I want to keep playing for as long as I can."

* Read tomorrow’s Express & Star for an exclusive extract from Edwards’ book as he lifts the lid on his time at Wolves

* Edwards will be signing copies of Living My Dream in the Wolves Megastore tomorrow (Wednesday) from 5.30pm to 7pm

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