We spoke recently to Uxbridge boss Danny Edwards at step 4 in non league football. Danny was boss at Chalfont St Peters for 15 years before moving last summer. Uxbridge themselves have played step 3 and 4 football and have big plans for the future. They also have a great youth policy and have had some great players and manager grace “The Honeycroft” their home ground.
You were sitting in 3rd when the season finished for COVID-19, do you think you would have finished higher if the season had finished.
I don’t think we would have caught either of them, realistically it was a race between Hanwell and Ware. We had played both of them before lockdown and didn’t beat either of them. We would have only caught them if they had lost 3 or 4 games into the end of the season and I couldn’t see that happening. But we would have made the playoffs if the season had finished.
You have been in charge since July 2019, how have you been impressed with how the club has developed?
I’ve been impressed with how we performed last season, we as a team set ourselves a target of making the top 5 and we were on course to do that before the season was stopped.
What made you want to leave Chalfont after 15 years?
I had a lot of loyalty towards Chalfont after being there for so long, but by the end I needed a new challenge to push myself towards. The opportunity to join Uxbridge was one I couldn’t turn down and the club is looking upwards, they ideally should be at Step 3 level and hopefully within my team we can get back there.
What are the team’s targets for the season?
Looking forward to this season, we are aiming to win the league, but there are around 8 or so teams that could win it. There is no clear favorite for the league but there are some very good sides around so it will be interesting to see who finishes top of the pile.
What type of football do you like your side to play
We like to play attacking football, as a team we have 3 key principles that we work with players on in training to make sure they work towards. We like to move the ball forwards quickly through the thirds. But we have in the close season looked at what didn’t work last season to develop this season and make us better.
How has preseason gone so far?
The results have been strong, we have made it hard, playing against sides from the division above us mostly. We have played well against Dunstable but lost and played well against Chesham. As a team we have a settled side and all of the players have got game time.
How good is it to have the right staff around you?
I am very lucky to have good staff around me and this has mostly been the same people for over 5 years now. We have quite a large backroom staff that includes coaches, goalkeeping coaches and a data analyst. I can’t speak highly enough of them who have the passion in their own areas who want to take the team forward. We as a group sit down and discuss ideas or tactics and work through them as a team. I’m more autocratic than being a dictator when it comes to this.
Have there been any comings/goings since the summer?
Two have left- Jack Beadle has gone to Chipstead and Mahlondon Martin has been on trial at some step 2-3 clubs. We have bought in George Fenton from Harrow Borough and Samuel De Costa from Chesham and we are hoping to bring in another 1-2 before the season starts
Are you looking to develop links with local pro clubs Clubs?
We are lucky at Uxbridge where we have some great youth teams and last year 4-5 of these made the step up to the first team and this season i’d imagine a few more will step up. So we would only dip into this market as a last resort with the players we have here. The kids here are as good as some of the local pro setups.
Any players we should be looking out for this season?
Seb Drozd from the U18 side and Lonit as well, that i am quite excited to see this year and will be part of the 1st team squad so keep an eye on these 2?
Do you think the FA were right to void all leagues below Step 2?
They were right if they had avoided step 1 and step 2, but not to go back and then play those with the playoffs while finishing the others. . Did they need to make the decision so early? they could have waited to see what had happened.
How will non leagues have changed due to COVID-19?
I thought that they money would have dried up, but the wages have stayed the same for players at this level. But when the season starts and people dont have the money to watch your big teams such as Chelsea/Brentford, hopefully they come down here and watch us or visit other non league clubs.
What club do you support
Best moment in management
Winning the Spartan league with Chalfont and the Fa vase run but was gutted losing on penalties in the semi final.
Best player you have managed/ against you?
Bradley Bubb for me, but look at the Chalfont squad from the FA vase such as Jerome OKimo, Charlie Strutton and Terrel Lewis were part of a great squad we had. The best player we had played against us was Ollie Hawkins who has gone on to have a great pro career.
What are the clubs plans for the next 3-5 years?
The club wants to redevelop the main stand, build a 3G pitch and also re-develop the changing rooms. The club has put nothing on us for on the field, but we want to get out of the league.
How hard was it during lockdown to keep the players fit and motivated and looking after their mental health?
For us, we spoke to them every other week and were in contact with them regarding pre-season. But mental health is something we will have to look after going forward not only for our players but generally as the economy recovers.
Who do you think will win the league this year?
I think Bracknell will be there, but Chertsey will be strong along with Hanwell. I think Marlow and barking will be surprise challengers this season. Even as an outside bet, even Chipstead.