Cult Heroes: The Rolls Royce - Carlos Edwards
After a bit of a sticky patch, where the party was certainly postponed, Sunderland will be looking to bounce back from the disappointing showing at Goodison - bloody Everton - with three points against the struggling Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon. Wolves always used to be one of those clubs that I hoped could continue to upset the odds, mainly because of their association with Mick McCarthy, a thoroughly likable bloke in my book, but following their rash and ill-advised sacking of the Irishman they look doomed and have for some weeks now.
The build up to the fixture itself wouldn't be complete without our customary look back at a player who represented both sides during their career. The star of today's piece is certainly more well respected and quite possibly revered for their time on Wearside as opposed to their short stint in the midlands, especially for one very special goal indeed.
It's only bloody Carlos Edwards!Ankenhaton Carlos Edwards was born in the Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago where he would go on to start his professional football career with the fantastically named Defence Force, the nation's most successful side, probably because it was made up of superheroes given a name like that, following earlier spells with Patna United and Queens Park CC.
During this time the right sided player, adept as either a winger or wing-back, attended the same school as another player who would later become a team-mate on Wearside, Kenwyne Jones, as they both studied at St. Anthony's College in the Westmoorings area.
Edwards didn't hang around his native Trinidad too long however as word of his talent reached Wrexham of all places, where following a successful trial he made the move permanent with a £250,000 transfer agreed along with Defence Force team-mate Hector Sam. Edwards spent a successful five years at the Racecourse Ground with the 2002/03 season being particularly memorable for the winger as his impressive form along with an impressive ten goals which helped Wrexham to promotion to the Second Division and earned Carlos the Player of the Year award
to boot as well as a place in the PFA Team of the Year.
A serious knee injury was to rob Carlos of most of the 2004/05 season, a term which ended in relegation for the Welsh side following the docking of ten points as punishment for going into administration. There was however some silverware to soften the blow in the shape of the Football League Trophy as Wrexham beat Southend United 2-0 at the Millennium Stadium.
As Edwards' contract with The Dragons expired at the end of the 2004/05 term the winger's services were snapped up by newly promoted Luton Town in the Championship. The Hatters boss Mike Newell had been tracking Carlos for some time, a player who first came to his attention whilst managing Hartlepool United and was seen as a useful
addition to his squad. Edwards reportedly turned down offers from Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Plymouth Argyle and Coventry City before eventually putting pen to paper for Luton Town; however how much you believe of those claims is up for debate...
Carlos hit the ground running and enjoyed an excellent first season at Kenilworth Road which was topped off with the honour of representing his country in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Edwards' burgeoning reputation as an exciting, tricky winger saw a host of scouts from a number of clubs begin to take up residence in the Luton Stands.
It was therefore no real surprise when upon the opening of the transfer window in January of 2007 that a move was on the agenda for Carlos as Roy Keane saw fit to stump up £1.4m for his services following, reportedly, a recommendation from Sir Alex Ferguson.
It didn't take long for Edwards to win over the Sunderland faithful with a string of notable performances and goals which went someway to helping The Black Cats to a remarkable promotion to the Premier League. Edwards managed to find the net five times following his transfer from Luton with goals against Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry City, Birmingham City, Southampton but most memorably an incredible strike against Burnley at the Stadium of Light which all but sealed Sunderland's return to the top flight and his cult hero status on Wearside.
The game itself was a real edge-of-the-seat affair as the home side had to show some Roy Keane-esq grit and determination to come from behind and seal the victory. With the scores tied at 2-2, goals for the home side from the footballing icon Daryl Murphy and a penalty from David Connolly, who had missed an earlier spot kick, Carlos
Edwards stepped up to give the biggest crowd of the season a moment to cherish.
The move itself was one of real style and panache as Sunderland broke on the 80th minute through Leadbitter and Murphy before the Irishman fed the ball to the right wing into the path of Edwards who had embarked on a surging run to support the attack...
Unfortunately for both Carlos and SAFC his inaugural Premier League campaign would be one dogged with injury. An early hamstring injury was further compounded with a leg fracture which side-lined the popular winger for all but the final three months of the season. Following somewhat of a spending spree over the summer of 2008 Edwards found himself well down the pecking order at the Stadium of Light before agreeing a loan spell with Saturday's opponents Wolves in October. Edwards made just six appearances for our guests, so it is doubtful they hold him in such a high regard but for that one moment in April of 2007 Edwards will always be fondly remembered on Wearside.