JOHN Edwards regards becoming Studley joint-manager with Wayne Bunn is like ‘coming home’ – and not just because he lives around the corner from the ground.
Edwards has a strong affection for his ‘local’ club, having previously played for the Bees 20-odd years ago when John Adams was manager.
But having also built teams with Redditch and district based players in Saturday and Sunday football he sees Studley as the ideal choice to attract even more recruits wanting to challenge themselves in the Midland League Division One.
Edwards and Bunn, who left league rivals Littleton at the end of the season, have succeeded Vaughan Pearshouse at the Beehive and become the fourth new bosses in the past two seasons.
“It does fell like we are going home,” said Edwards.
“We’re both local, I live two minutes from the ground, and we’ve got a lot of contacts locally. That was the main attraction in coming to Studley.
“We enjoyed some success at Littleton, having taken over five games into the season and then ending the campaign in eighth place, ironically one place above Studley.
“But the travelling to Littleton was getting too much. Most of our players come from Redditch and south Birmingham so Studley made sense.”
Edwards, who had six successful seasons at Redditch Sunday side Black Horse, and former Feckenham boss Bunn are set to bring with them a number of players from Littleton to blend with the Bees players and other newcomers in pre-season.
“A lot of the players I had at Black Horse came with me to Littleton and I would be disappointed if they did not want to come with me to Studley as well,” said Edwards.
“There are other local lads playing in Sunday football who are good enough to step up on Saturday and we want to give them the chance at Studley, to become a team of local lads, watched by local people.
“We’re not really setting any targets but Littleton were eighth last season and Studley ninth so if we can blend the two, and add a few ‘outsiders’ then hopefully we can push for the top six.”
Edwards admits it was a learning process last season after managing in the Midland League, but the promotions of bigger budget clubs Walsall Wood and Ilkeston last month, following the previous season’s elevation of Bromsgrove Sporting, suggests a more even, if no less competitive, division next term.
Studley are already preparing for the next campaign, by arranging warm-up games against Lye Town, Redditch United and their annual friendly with Northamptonshire side Long Buckby.
Others will be announced shortly.