Rejected by a Sheffield United scout as "too small", Willis Edwards
went on to have a long and successful for career for Chesterfield,
Leeds and England. After 8 successful years at Bramall Lane, Edwards
joined Leeds towards the end of the 1924-25 season and soon found
his great all-round game was recognised at the highest level, with
his first England cap coming against Scotland in 1926.
He was recognised as the best wing-half in the country, and his
longevity was equally impressive - playing for 14 years for Leeds in
the league and also turning out during the war years. He remained at
Leeds after the war, acting as assistant coach and then taking over as
manager when Billy Hampson stepped down. He didn't have much success
and after a year returned to his coaching position and continued as a
scout for the club until the middle of the 1950s. He died in 1988.
Ian Gledhill says: When I left school in the summer of 1968, I
worked for a short time at Moorhouses jam factory on Old Lane in
Beeston. Willis Edwards was also employed there. He used to do odd
jobs, including tidying up the gardens at the front of the factory. He
must have been 65 but looked older. I knew who he was but I didn't
have the - what is it, nerve? - to stop him and get him talking about
his life. Eighteen seemed a lot younger in those days. Now I wish I
Carl Short says: I have just found out that Willis Edwards is my
great great uncle. My grandfather, Willis Short, who has recently
passed away, was named after his famous uncle.