We continue our Black History Month celebrations by taking a trip down memory lane to focus on popular left-back and 2010 FA Trophy winner Paul Edwards.
Whilst Barrow had reached the FA Cup Third Round in the 2009-10 season, there were concerns about the left side of defence and whilst Gareth Jelleyman had done a sound job, there were concerns about his lack of pace. At the start of March 2010, the management team of Dave Bayliss & Darren Sheridan brought in Paul Edwards.
Born in Manchester, Paul began his career with Crewe Alexandra but was released without making a first team appearance. He had brief spells with Ashton United and Curzon Ashton before joining Doncaster Rovers for whom he made his League debut at sixteen years of age. He was released after playing nine first team games.
He then had spells with Knutsford and Altrincham – he made nine appearances for the Robins - before joining Swindon Town in 2001. He made sixteen appearances for the Robins, scoring once before in the summer of 2002 returning north to join Wrexham. He spent two seasons at the Racecourse Ground, scoring four times in eighty six games.
In the summer 2004 he moved to Blackpool, and in one season with the Tangerines, he netted three times in thirty one appearances.
The summer of 2005 saw him join Oldham Athletic and he again spent two seasons with the Latics, making sixty three appearances without scoring. In the summer of 2007 he joined Port Vale and he played sixty two appearances in all competitions for them, scoring twice before being released in the summer of 2009.
He had been without a club since leaving Vale Park, although he had been on trial at Wrexham, before joining Barrow and made his debut in the FA Trophy Semi Final at Salisbury in March 2010. A member of the 2009-10 FA Trophy winning side, Paul played in fifteen out of the sixteen games possible before the end of the season.
Paul initially left the club in the summer of 2010 but returned to the club early in the 2010-11 season having agreed a new deal. It was a difficult campaign with the team avoiding relegation on the final day of the season. After missing the first two games of the season, Paul played in forty five of the remaining forty seven games that term and at the end of the campaign he collected three awards – Supporters Club 'Player of the Year', National Supporters Club 'Player of the Year' and overall 'Player of the Year' – recognition for his consistency over the season in a struggling side.
There was disappointment when Paul rejected a new deal in the summer of 2011 and joined league rivals Fleetwood Town. However, that move did not really work out as he made just eight appearances for them and in January 2012 he went on loan to Mansfield Town where he played three times.
He returned to Barrow on loan in March 2012 and remained with the club for the rest of that season, playing just four games as he was troubled by injury. He returned to Fleetwood Town in May 2012 and was released by them at that time.
Paul missed the 2012-13 season through continuing injury issues but he was fit enough to re-join the club in August 2013. He made twenty seven appearances across that season, his final game coming in the memorable 4-4 home draw with Boston United in March 2014.
Paul made ninety one appearances in total for the club but never scored – surprising for a player who loved to get forward from defence. Paul was popular and whilst he was solid in defence he had the pace to get forward and create chances.
Paul did not play again but his son Devonte Redmond has played for Scunthorpe United, Salford City, Wrexham and Kidderminster Harriers; having come through the Manchester United academy system.