By Rick Martin (Brother in law and ex-player)
Sadly we have to advise on the passing of Simon Edwards aged 77 years, a true Basingstoke football man from player to manager to supporter and life-long member.
Simon was always a keen sportsman from early years, especially with regards to football and started playing for Tadley when he was 15. A team soon emerged there called the ‘Internationals’ being made up of various players from the United Kingdom. After 3 years Simon moved on to play for Andover FC, where he starred at full back from 1958 to 1963. During this time he met his wife Doreen at Thornycrofts, where they both worked together. Doreen often had to wait patiently for Simon to come back from Andover on the train, when they used to enjoy going out together to the cinema in Basingstoke.
In 1963 Simon joined his home town team, Basingstoke, and those who saw him play will remember a fast and stylish full back, able to play in those days at either Number 2 or 3. A tough tackler and great header of the ball, not missing many games, the only thing of regret to Simon, as far as we know, is that he never scored a goal (in the opponents end!).
Some highlights during his time at Basingstoke included playing in the FA Cup game against Northampton in 1971, the Peter Houseman testimonial game versus Chelsea, playing against the Showbiz XI in 1971 on the British Legion’s 50th Anniversary, versus a team containing Tommy Steele, Ray and Dave Davies from The Kinks, Dennis Waterman and ‘Diddy David Hamilton, along with a joint benefit match with Len Vallard and Pat Conway on Friday August 4th 1972 against Crewe Alexandra, who in those days were managed by Jimmy Melia.
After his playing career finished in 1974, Simon took to management and developed a great Reserve team made up of quality local players, which he did until 1977.
From then, up to recent times, Simon would always try and get along to as many home Basingstoke games as possible, where he enjoyed spending time with his group of friends an ex-players.
Some people who influenced Simon’s football life were;
- Best Manager played for – Taffy Davies – ‘He was why we won games’!
- Best Player played with – Cliff Huxford.
- Best Player played against – Irish International Derek Dougan (when at Andover in a special match)
Simon leaves behind his wife Doreen, daughters Paula and Karen and grand-children Luke and Emily, all of whom would really like to thank Basingstoke for their great support during this time and who, along with friends and relations, look forward to meeting old friends of Simon on Saturday and fingers crossed for a great Basingstoke performance.