Wembley Win Makes Rob A Premier League Boss
Two successive promotions with a sacking elsewhere in between….Rob Edwards has put himself in extremely exclusive company!
The man deemed not good enough for Watford on the evidence of ten League games at the start of the season has provided a delicious twist (of the knife?) at the end of it by leading their arch rivals to Championship promotion.
Notwithstanding the considerable pleasure there would also have been in the game had Coventry seen through another triumph under Mark Robins, Luton’s Bank Holiday weekend play-off success is a fabulous story; one told with humility, too.
Such has been the Telford-born manager’s knack for saying the right thing that there are regular gracious reminders of the part his predecessor, Nathan Jones, played in this unlikely ascent.
But let’s not start thinking Edwards merely applied the finishing touches. He was appointed at Kemilworth Road on November 17 with the League campaign less than half-way through. Luton were tenth and finished third, five points above fourth place.
Fifty of their points were accrued under the 40-year-old former Wolves defender and coach, who arrived in this world on Christmas Day, 1982.
He will be in the visiting dug-out for a Premier League fixture at Molineux next season – not bad for someone honoured as League Two manager of the season 12 months ago for leading Forest Green to the title.
He then served Watford from May 11 to September 26 and has won promotion from or to all four divisions in a fraction over a year.
The breadth of his experience can’t be questioned. He has managed Telford, worked at the side of Kenny Jackett, Walter Zenga and Paul Lambert, had two games in caretaker charge of Wolves in 2016-17 and run England age-group teams.
Don Goodman was on Sky Sports summarising duty at Wembley two afternoons ago, 22 years to the day on from scoring for Walsall in a play-off final against Reading that also had Tom Bennett and Adrian Williams on opposite sides.
He appeared to be telling us in the most discreet way that we shouldn’t assume Luton will continue with their direct methods in the top flight. That was more than a hint, perhaps, that Edwards left things as they were for what remained of 2022-23 purely because they were clearly working for the Hatters at this level.
The final weekend of League and club football came with a number of other highs and lows for former Wolves favourites.
Congratulations to Paul Simpson for leading his home city club, Carlisle, to promotion from League Two – what an outstanding job he has done since finding them in 23rd place in the basement division when being appointed in February of last year. And Jamie Smith was part of the off-field team celebrating Sheffield Wednesday’s remarkable last-gasp triumph this afternoon, with Dominic Iorfa in the Owls line-up.
In the Premier League, Everton’s director of football Kevin Thelwell will be breathing easier today, helped by a second-half goalline clearance by Conor Coady in the crucial win at home to Bournemouth, but others are having to suffer the game’s down-side.
Mike Stowell took the drop with Leicester, Rob Kelly likewise with Wigan the season after they won League One and Robbie Keane was in the Sam Allardyce backroom team who went in late at Leeds and failed to have the desired short-term effect.
Our best wishes go to them all, especially those who have tasted bitter disappointment and who probably want next season to come round as soon as it possibly can.