Phil Edwards accepted a contract at Boro’ in summer 2011 after his deal expired at League Two playoff rivals Accrington Stanley. The player had made himself well-established at the Crown Ground; making around 200 appearances across a six-year period there. As a highly-rated member of that Accy team, he was an integral member of the squad that made the 2010-1 League Two playoffs. If you’re still switched on while reading this, you’ll realise that it was Boro’ who ended Accy’s hopes in said playoffs.
The departure of Luke Foster left a gap that needed to be filled at the Lamex Stadium. And it’s fair to say that Edwards had the flexibility to fulfil midfield duties in addition to his more familiar defensive abilities. With Boro’ getting the deal over the line, it delighted Graham Westley; landing a player who could become a major cog in our League One machine. In reality, however, we struggled to find the best use for him. He stayed for only one season; a lack of first-team chances and the arrival of Gary Smith leaving him surplus to requirements.
Phil Edwards: Before Boro’
Edwards started at the JJB Stadium with Wigan Athletic as a youth. Soon loaned out to Morecambe, he hardly featured during their Conference campaign. A second loan stint at Accrington Stanley proved more fruitful, and ultimately led to a permanent transfer in 2006.
Phil Edwards: After Boro’
Edwards enjoyed a decent career after moving on from the Lamex. At first, he signed for Rochdale on loan; the deal reuniting him with his former Accy boss John Coleman. And it was little shock that, when let go by Boro’ in summer 20120, Edwards made his stay at the Dale a permanent one. It was a time that elevated his stock in the League Two world and gave him some options come the end of his first full season at Spotland. The choice that he elected to make was to join Burton Albion on a free.
It’s hard to suggest that Edwards had his best moments while in a Brewers shirt. He played his part in the team that went from League Two to the Championship inside two years. In a parallel universe, perhaps he did that at Boro’ already. We’ll never know. In being there when it happened, Edwards earned ‘cult hero’ status as a Burton player – and fair play to him. But the second tier was arguably a step too far for him. During the 2016-7 season, he stepped back down to League One on loan with Oxford United.
In summer 2017, Edwards left the Pirelli Stadium and signed for Bury on a free transfer. He was a regular during his first season; one that ended in relegation to League Two. But that constant stream of first team action dried up in 2018-9; the player making just a small handful of appearances all campaign, before finding himself out of contract and looking for a new club in summer 2019. The club that came in for him was Accrington Stanley; the deal described as “no risk” by John Coleman.
Edwards left Accy after that one, Covid-affected season. He moved to Warrington Town, but didn’t get to make any appearances before the re-emergence of Covid ended the 2020-1 season prematurely.