Dave Edwards has spoken of his pride and privilege in continuing to represent Wolves – and believes he is both a better player and a better person after almost a decade at Molineux.
The Welsh international midfielder has signed a new two-and-a-half year contract, with a further year’s option in Wolves’ favour, just a month shy of the ninth anniversary of joining the club from Luton Town.
In an extended interview with Wolves Player HD, Edwards has revealed:
- His gratitude to Head Coach Paul Lambert for helping sort the new contract within weeks of his arrival
- How the tough times midway through his Wolves career have shaped his character and determination
- Why he knows he will never be a fans’ favourite but will continue to try and win supporters over
- His appreciation of everything Wolves has done for him - in particular giving him the platform to carry out work in the community
- The two burning ambitions remaining in his career for club and country.
After almost nine years at Wolves, and 274 appearances, Edwards has worked under many different managers or Head Coaches, whilst 99 team-mates have checked in since he arrived at Molineux in January, 2008.
At that time the dressing room characters were the likes of Gary Breen and Neill Collins, while Karl Henry, “was the one who organised everything!”
“I am very lucky to have played with so many great players and different characters,” says Edwards, as he put pen to paper on his new deal.
“And to have played so many games for Wolves and been involved in the rollercoaster ride has been a real privilege for me.
“I have been fortunate to have worked with some great managers during my time here.
“I have always played and made a lot of appearances and never ever been out in the cold or not wanted.
“I am grateful to all of those managers and also to the new gaffer for this show of faith a few weeks after arriving at the club.
“That just adds to your belief that the gaffer wants to pick you and hopefully we can now start working our way up the table.
“The day I arrived? I can still remember it really well.
“I remember being down at Luton and getting the call that Wolves were interested.
“At the time there were a couple of other clubs in the frame but as soon as I heard about Wolves it was straight up the M1 and M6.
“Living half an hour away in Shrewsbury, I always knew the stature of Wolves as a club, and my brother has always been a huge Wolves fan.
“I felt so grateful that a club like Wolves wanted me and I was blown away by meeting Mick in the boardroom at the training ground.
“I just wanted to sign as quickly as possible!”
Sign quickly he did. And then he started quickly too. Scoring within eight minutes of his debut in a 2-0 win at Scunthorpe.
It was to signal a fairly dramatic upward trajectory for Edwards and for Wolves during his first 18 months at the club which culminated in promotion to the Premier League.
The day that promotion was sealed – at home to Queen’s Park Rangers – counts among one of his favourite Wolves matches so far, another being the 6-4 victory against Rotherham in April, 2014.
Three seasons in the top flight followed, including Edwards grabbing the winner against Manchester City.
That goal is among his current top three from the Wolves career so far, the others being at Crewe when Wolves sealed League One promotion and then the late winner in the dramatic 4-3 victory
against Leeds at Molineux.
During the Premier League years, and then the seasons which followed, life became far tougher both for Edwards and his team.
A succession of injuries affected his ability to make a sustained impact, and then there was more mental pain as well as physical as Wolves suffered back-to-back relegations to drop like a stone
from the top flight to League One.
Difficult and challenging times for all, but now looking back, the affable midfielder believes it was character-building, and has ultimately proved significantly beneficial.
“I have changed enormously over the last nine years,” he says.
“There have been so many good times and bad times and I think all of it has affected me.
“As a person, and with my beliefs, it has improved me and matured me and I am so grateful to have gone through that rollercoaster.
“I feel like I have come out the other side as a better person who is very positive and has a great outlook on life.
“I think that is due to having the early success here but the real character has come from going through that period in the middle of my Wolves career when I was suffering with injuries and we had
the two relegations.
“Mentally I have become a lot stronger, that mental side of dealing with being at such a big club and it has improved me no end.
“Along that journey my outlook on life has become so much better and I think that was down to those tough times.
“I am glad that I am still here and hope that we can carry on now and that we will get back into the Premier League.”
That rollercoaster ride during his time with Wolves has also extended to Edwards’ relationship with the club’s supporters.
Sometimes on the end of criticism, particularly during the club’s fall from grace, but equally lauded by many others, including the initially tongue-in-cheek Dangerous nickname during his prolific
spell of scoring in the League One title-winning campaign.
It is perhaps a sign of Edwards’ character and personality that he can remain very comfortable about that mix of opinions.
Clearly he knows what he can offer, which is always accompanied by total workrate, and hopes that is seen even by fans who perhaps opt for more flair among their heroes.
Edwards has also revealed that it wasn’t until the arrival of Kenny Jackett – and some advice from his number two Joe Gallen – that he really started to think of himself as a proper, bona-fide
“I have never been a fans’ favourite here and certainly wasn’t at that time when the team was struggling – I was often the one who would get a little bit of stick,” says Edwards.
“I felt that as a person I think that made me stronger.
“Even now I know I split opinions in the South Bank and I appreciate that.
“I probably don’t take as much notice now as I used to when it would get me down.
“I just hope that even the fans who don’t appreciate my ability can know that, whenever I pull on that shirt, I am always going to give 110 per cent.
“That is the only way I think I can win fans over, and hopefully I have done that over the last few years when I have played my best football.
“As a midfielder I am not one who is going to be heavily involved throughout the game in terms of always being on the ball.
“I need to have big moments in a game, whether that is by scoring goals or making tackles at the other end as a box to box midfielder.
“I think the Dangerous nickname started as something that was tongue in cheek and it has stuck.
“But I do enjoy it!
“I do think my goalscoring has improved in recent years.
“At the start of my Wolves career I only seemed to get one or two a season.
“I would always seem to be able to break the box but maybe not just at the right time or I wasn’t as clinical as I have gone on to become now.
“It was only really when Kenny came in along with Joe Gallen and gave me that freedom that more goals started to come.
“It was Joe who told me that I thought like a striker.
“I’d be out on the training pitch every day working on my left foot and working on my passing.
“Joe was like: “What are young doing? You are not going to get in the team by having a better left foot or by improving your passing a little bit. Work on your strengths.”
“And that is what I have done since then.
“Every day I will work on arriving in the box, my heading, one touch finishing, and I think that has showed with getting maybe 30-odd goals over the last three years.
“I am still trying to break the ten a season which I am confident of doing this year.”
That is for this year, but, alongside that, there remain two major ambitions which Edwards would like to fulfil before one day hanging up his boots.
They are perhaps not too difficult to predict, but will continue to provide added motivation as the midfielder looks to stay at the top level for club and country for several more years to come.
“From the ability and talent I was given, I genuinely think I have maximised that to the hilt,” Edwards explains.
“I have tried to get every bit out of myself every day in training to make sure I am a player worthy of playing in the Championship, the Premier League and internationally for Wales.
“There are two things I would still love to do to sign off an incredible career.
“To have another go at the Premier League with Wolves would be special.
“I know we have been going through a tough patch lately but I believe that with the new owners here, and the gaffer having arrived, the club can go places.
“I would love to be a part of that journey.
“On the international side, for Wales to qualify for the World Cup and then be part of that squad going to Russia would be the icing on the cake.
“From playing at the age of 16 in the Shropshire County League for a team called Hanwood United, and also playing for my brother’s pub team on a Sunday, to then playing for Shrewsbury and
going on to Luton, Wolves and Wales – it is what dreams are made of.
“I just want to carry on as long as possible and be at this club as long as possible as well.”
Finally then, after nine years, all those games, all those ups and downs…what exactly does Wolves mean to Dave Edwards?
“What Wolves have given to me and my family and the life it means I can give to my children…being able to wear that gold shirt and play in front of a packed out Molineux – it means the world to
me,” is the answer.
“I will be forever in Wolves’ debt and can only thank Steve Morgan, Mick McCarthy and all the other managers I have worked with through to Paul Lambert and the Fosun Group.
“Yes there are tough moments, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
“More than anything it is what that has given me as a person, because whenyou are a footballer you are put on a pedestal and with that comes responsibility, but also opportunity.
“Because of Wolves I have been be able to be in a position in the community to do other things and that is what I am most grateful for.
“Hopefully I will be able to continue and go and help as many people as I can which is something I am passionate about.
“It is what Wolves have done for me that will hopefully allow me to go on that journey as well, and I will always be trying to repay them.
“This is a special club to be involved with.”