On this week in Town’s history: ‘We need a striker with a killer instinct,’ admits Edwards during Keane’s tenure
- Credit: Ashley Pickering
Football writer Carl Marston looks back on ‘This week in Town’s history’ from 11 years ago, when Carlos Edwards admitted that the team needed a new striker
Carlos Edwards is still going strong, operating as a central midfielder at the ripe ‘old’ age of 42.
Edwards is a prime reason why Bury Town have had such a successful start to their 2020-21 campaign, until the ‘non-elite’ non-league season was put on hold due to the Covid-19 restrictions at the start of this month.
Eleven years ago, though, Edwards was a mainstay of Ipswich Town’s beleaguered side under Roy Keane, one of the club’s shining lights at the age of 31.
And this week in Town’s history, from 11 years ago, Edwards was airing his concerns about the plight of Town’s squad, especially in terms of strikers.
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Back in mid-November, 2011, I remember interviewing Edwards, who was then playing as a flying winger, as Town’s desperate start to the Championship continued with just one win recorded in their first 17 league games.
Always an optimist, and always so upbeat, even Edwards was feeling a little glum after this awful start to the campaign.
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“We do need a striker with a killer instinct in front of goal,” confessed Edwards.
“We’ve solved our defensive problems, but I think we do need a striker with a proven record of scoring at this level.
“It’s sometimes a case of going that extra yard to break a leg, though not literally of course. It’s often just a toe-poke that results in a goal.
“Some of our strikers have not scored for so many games. They lack confidence in front of goal.
“It usually comes down to players believing in themselves. The manager (Keane) believes in them, but the players have to believe in themselves as well,” added Edwards.
So who were the strikers firing blanks during the first few months of the 2009-10 season?
The likes of Tamas Priskin, Jon Stead, Pablo Counago, Jon Walters and Lee Martin had all been given turns up front, but no individual and certainly no strike-force partnership had struck gold.
It was a big struggle, with just 17 goals eked out from the club’s first 17 fixtures. No wonder Town were stuck in the bottom three with Peterborough United and Plymouth Argyle.
The most recent result, recorded at the end of this week 11 years ago, was a 0-0 home draw against Sheffield Wednesday on November 21, 2009.
Edwards, forever the gentleman, also admitted blame for Town’s troubles.
In fact, as he told me after that goalless stalemate against the Owls: “I was surprised that I even started today.
“My last two performances, against Derby and at Reading, were both poor. But the manager has kept faith in me.”
The loyal Edwards was quick to defend Keane. He said of his boss: “Roy Keane is a top man.
“Everyone has their dark side, but he needs his players to help him and to make his job easier.
“It’s hard for him to accept not winning, because of his past, when he won more than he lost. Winning is everything for him.
“I’m no golden boy. Roy makes it known when he’s not happy with what’s going on, and you have got to know how to take constructive criticism. I’m ambitious, just as the manager is. I won promotion at Sunderland, which was a sweet feeling, and we must always look at the positives.”
Edwards was also quick to recognise the role of the Ipswich supporters.
“We can’t ask for any more from our fans,” insisted Edwards.
“They have given us such good support, like at the previous away game at Reading (1-1 draw).
“I was surprised but joyful with that support, considering the position that we are in. We need all the support that we can get,” added Edwards.
That interview appeared under the headline – ‘Wanted desperately: A proven goalscorer.’
And the sub-heading read as follows – ‘Please apply to Mr R Keane, Ipswich Town Football Club, Portman Road.’
Later that month, just seconds before the transfer window shut, Keane did increase his striker options by recruiting Stern John on loan from Crystal Palace.
And Stern’s presence did have an immediate effect, his debut coinciding with a welcome 2-1 win away at Cardiff City, when fellow attackers Walters and Stead hit the target late on.
But looking further ahead, Town never really solved their striker problems during the whole of the 2009-10 campaign.
No one reached double figures, the versatile Walters top scoring with eight goals, followed by Stead and Daryl Murphy (six league goals) and then centre-half Gareth McAuley (five).
Edwards stayed at Portman Road for a total of five seasons, racking up 191 games, and was still entertaining crowds at Ram Meadow, the home of Bury Town, until non-elite football was halted.