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 had.
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.