Leamington have revealed that Jack Edwards has made what he has described as a ‘gut wrenching decision’ to move into the National League with near-neighbours Solihull Moors.
The all-action, tough-tackling midfielder – a huge favourite with the Brakes support – was always likely to attract some attention after his stunning long-range goal against Cinderford Town went viral earlier in the season, but he has proved that it was not a one off by staging his own goal of the season competition, bagging further crackers against King’s Lynn Town and Slough Town, the latter helping the Brakes into the play-off final and ultimately promotion.
Edwards’ career has been one of steady progression, working his way up from Studley to Coventry Sphinx and then Barwell, before Leamington boss Paul Holleran snapped him up in 2014.
He gained precious experience in the Brakes` second season in the Conference (National League) North, despite suffering relegation, and has been a key figure over the past couple of seasons in the Southern League Premier Division.
His passion and exuberance has earned him a few red cards along the way, but he has learnt from his mistakes and has improved season on season. His goals and driving force will certainly be missed in our midfield.
The manager was disappointed to be losing one of his star performers, but believes he has earned the chance of a crack at the top level of the non-League game, saying: “There have been a few occasions in the past when I have stopped players from moving on, but Jack has worked really hard to move up from Step 6 football to where he is now, and as much as I didn’t want to lose him I felt that I couldn’t stand in his way. Jack has been fantastic for us over the last three seasons and will be missed, but he deserves this chance and I am sure he will grab it with both hands.”
It is fitting that Edwards’ final touch of a ball as a Leamington player was a telling one, as he calmly crashed home the fifth spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux in the Birmingham Senior Cup.
He will certainly be missed by all at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium, as will his parents, Jane and Mark, who have both been present at the majority of the 149 games he played for Leamington, and are well known to many Brakes fans.
Edwards had a parting message for the Brakes faithful: “I would like to thank everyone involved with Leamington FC for their support over the last three seasons. It is where I have seen the majority of my career highlights culminating in promotion to the National League North.
“Leamington has undoubtedly changed my career and hopefully I have left the slightest lasting impression on the club as well.
“Special mention to the fans, volunteers, backroom staff and especially Paul Holleran and Martyn Naylor who instilled a huge amount of faith in me, giving me the belief to push my performances on.
“I wish the club every success in the new league and with new ventures. Up the Brakes!”