Notts County: Mike Edwards on playing for 21 managers in 10 years at Meadow Lane

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It's a rollercoaster at Notts - Edwards

Mike Edwards has played for 21 managers in 10 years at Notts County, was there when they had no money for milk and has even cooked pre-match meals for the team.

No wonder he says his time at Meadow Lane has been "a rollercoaster".

Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson came and went as director of football, as did Munto Finance and Sol Campbell - and that is just the tale of a few months in Edwards' decade-long association with the East Midlands club.

He now works as fitness and conditioning coach - a job that he once mixed with being part-time cook - but also remains part of the playing squad at the age of 36.

"That is the thing with Notts, you have to muck in. You have the job you have to do, but also you know you have to go a bit beyond it. You do it for the love of the club," he says.

Ahead of his testimonial match at Meadow Lane against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, the defender looks back at the bosses, the good times and bad during 350 matches at Notts.

Sven-Goran Eriksson
Sven-Goran Eriksson resigned as director of football at Notts County following the club's takeover by Ray Trew

Sven and the money men

Possibly the most turbulent time of Edwards' career came when former England boss Eriksson arrived after Middle East consortium Munto Finance took over the club of the summer of 2009.

There was a five-year plan to take the club into the Premier League, but it came to nothing and ended with the club heavily in debt and a £1 takeover.

"He (Eriksson) was queen of everybody's hearts, the dressing room really took to him," Edwards said.

"He was honest with the boys about the troubles off the pitch. He came and told us that we couldn't pay the milk bill. He tried his best to get the club that investment and to get the security."

During that time, Edwards lost his place to former England defender Campbell, who arrived on a five-year deal, but spent just one month and played one game for the Magpies before leaving by mutual consent.

"I like to say that I got him out of the team the next game. To say that I got an ex-international out of the team is a nice thing to keep with me," Edwards said.

Pots, pans and gym sessions

After two years away from Meadow Lane between 2012 and 2014, Edwards returned to Notts County looking to expand his horizons beyond the pitch.

It led to a job on the coaching staff, and inadvertently as part-time chef under then manager Shaun Derry when budgets were having to be cut.

Mike Edwards in action for Notts County
Defender Mike Edwards has scored 30 goals in 350 appearances for Notts

"I remember having a meeting with Shaun and Greg Abbott and they were looking at me saying 'we are not going to a hotel before games, we are going to eat on the coach'," he recalls.

"It was my second day in the job and I could feel the heat, a stack of bricks on me and I felt I had to pipe up and say something.

"I said that I could cook, make the food. My wife and kids got back after school and work and there is a stack of pans in the kitchen. They just asked what the hell I was doing?"

Up and down and up again?

A takeover saga and culinary tales are just part of Edwards' story at Notts.

Plenty has also happened on the field. He was part of the League Two title-winning side that won promotion under Steve Cotterill in 2010.

Then there is the highlight of playing for Notts County, the oldest Football League club in the world, when they were invited to inaugurate Juventus Stadium - home of the Italian giants who adopted Notts' black and white stripes in 1905.

Edwards was later discarded, subsequently brought back, then went down with the Magpies in 2015.

John Sheridan, his 21st boss at Notts - and fourth last season, has brought hope of better times again after a period of upheaval, in which they finished 17th in League Two.

"I'm looking forward to it," said Edwards.

"Off the back of last season, we need to get foundations in place and kick on from there. Hopefully we can get promotion again."

"Notts fans have been brilliant - success and failures, we have shared it together," he said.

Edwards' 21 Notts County managers

Gary Mills: May 2004 - Nov 2004Steve Cotterill: Feb 2010 - May 2010Mick Halsall & Paul Hart: Mar 2015 - Apr 2015
Ian Richardson: Nov 2004 - May 2005Craig Short: Jun 2010 - Oct 2010Ricardo Moniz: Apr 2015 - Dec 2015
Gudjon Thordarson: May 2005 - June 2006Paul Ince: Oct 2010 - Apr 2011Mick Halsall: Dec 2015 - Jan 2016
Steve Thompson: Jun 2006 - Oct 2007Martin Allen: Apr 2011 - Feb 2012Jamie Fullarton: Jan 2016 - Mar 2016
Ian McParland: Oct 2007 - Oct 2009Keith Curle: Feb 2012 - Feb 2013Mark Cooper: Mar 2016 - May 2016
Hans Backe: Oct 2009 - Dec 2009Chris Kiwomya: Feb 2013 - Oct 2013John Sheridan: May 2016 - Present
Dave Kevan: Dec 2009 - Feb 2010Shaun Derry: Nov 2013 - Mar 2015

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