Keith Edwards was an out and out goalscorer. Pacey but not the quckest, not always the bravest, but put the ball in front of him near a goal and he’d put a shot on target. He joined the Tigers in August 1978 with the club rebuilding after a wounding relegation from Division Two. Edwards announced himself in the thirs league game of the season, netting a hattrick at home to Chester. He scored 13 goals by the end of the year, celebrating the festive season with a Boxing Day brace against Mansfield. He didn’t score for two months after that pair but roared back to form in March and April 1979 with 9 goals in 11 games. By the end of the season he had started every League and Cup game, scored 25 goals and celebrated that achievement with the opener on the last of the season against his former rivals Sheffield Wednesday, in City’s first ever win at Hillsborough.
1979/80 started up where it left off the previous May, as Edwards scored at Hillsborough in an Anglo-Scottish Cup tie. But as the Tigers struggled under Ken Houghton’s management Edwards’ form also dipped, scoring just six times before Christmas. With Houghton jettisoned a fortnight ahead of Santa’s visit, Chris Chilton took temporary charge and Edwards again celebrated Boxing Day with two goals, this time at Blackpool. Mike Smith took the helm in the New Year and the former Welsh international manager’s expansive style of football suited Edwards, who added 12 goals in sixteen matches as City avoided relegation by a point. Smith blooded a number of talented players in his first nine months – Marwood, Norman, McClaren, Booth – but financial collapse was lurking as City were relegated to the Fourth Division in May 1981, Edwards having done his part to avoid the drop with thirteen league goals, scoring his customary Boxing Day goal against Rotherham. With City on the verge of bankruptcy at the start of 1981/82 Edwards, the club’s most saleable asset, was sold back to Sheffield United in September 1981 for £95,000, though not before he scored the final goal of his first City spell against the Blades in a 2-1 victory.
Keith Edwards was born in hospital in Middlesbrough butgrew up in the Roseworth area of Stockton-on-Tees with his three elder brothers, his locally born mother and his Londoner father (who worked as a clerk for ICI). He didn’t sign for a senior club as a youngster, despite offers from Middlesbrough, instead leaving school at 15 and working for a diary delivering cheese around Teesside while playing junior football. After trials with Wolves, Leeds, Orient and Charlton he joined Sheffield United in 1975 at the age of 18. After a season spent mostly in the reserves, Keith scored 29 goals in 71 appearances over two seasons prior to joining the Tigers.
On returning to Bramall Lane in September 1981, Edwards immediately found his feet and as the Blades swept to the Fourth Division title he scored 35 league goals in 41 starts, the most productive league season of his long career (this was Edwards’ only title in a 17 year career). Over the next five seasons he was a first team fixture at Bramall Lane and top league goalscorer another three times. He scored 33 league goals in 1983/84, plus another 8 in the Cups, as the Blades won promotion to the Second Division. Across his six year spell back in the Steel City Edwards scored 137 goals in all competitions in 230 appearances, a remarkable effort.
In the 1986 close season Sheffield United were persuaded by an offer of £125,000 and Edwards, now 29, joined Second Division rivals Leeds United. At Leeds Edwards experienced his first period of failure as he managed only 6 league goals in 30 appearances. In September 1987 he was transferred to Aberdeen, reuniting with his former Blades manager Ian Porterfield. But this spell north of the border lasted only six months because in March 1988 Hull City manager Brian Horton signed Edwards in an attempt to rsecue the Tigers flagging season.
This second spell started well, with Edwards scoring on his second debut at Leicester, then dipped as Horton was sacked five games later, then perked up again as Tom Wilson and Dennis Booth piloted the Tigers to a 4-0 over Huddersfield, with Edwards scoring twice, that banished lingering doubts about relegation. In 1988/89 Eddie Gray was installed as City manager and Edwards, paired first with Alex Dyer and then later with Billy Whitehurst, returned to form and scored 26 times in the league. He scored an impressive 7 braces plus a hattrick at home to Bournemouth. In 1989/90 Gray was replaced by another Boothferry Park returnee Colin Appleton, who promptly jettisoned Edwards in a hapless three month spell at the helm that quickly saw Appleton similarly ditched.
Edwards moved to Stockport County in September 1989 for a £50,000 fee, the Hatters’ record signing at the time. After a season at Edgeley Park, Edwards saw out his professional career at Huddersfield Town, with a chronic hip injury hampering his nippy style. That career returned just shy of 300 goals in all competitions in 650 appearances – a truly impressive haul.
After a year out of the game Keith spent a few months playing in the non-leagues for former team-mates, but soon hung up his boots and resumed his teenage career in deliveries, qualifying as a Class 1 HGV driver. For two decades Edwards was a regular and often-outspoken pundit on BBC Radio Sheffield, commenting on all matters Blade-ish.
Date/Place of Birth: 16 July 1957, Middlesbrough
Hull City First Game: 12 August 1978, Peterborough United H (League Cup First Round First Leg), 21 years, 27 days old
Hull City Final Game: 9 September 1989, Portsmouth A (Division Two), 32 years, 55 days old
Sheffield United (1975-1978), Hull City (1978-1981), Sheffield United (1981-1986), Leeds United (1986-1987), Aberdeen (1987-1988), Hull City (1988-1989), Stockport County (1989-1990), Huddersfield Town (1990, loan), Huddersfield Town (1990-1991), Plymouth Argyle (1990, loan), Stafford Rangers (1992), Alfreton Town (1992)
Hull City Record
Career: 220 apps, 97 goalsKeith Edwards
|1978/79||46 (0)||24||2 (0)||1||3 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1979/80||41 (0)||19||2 (0)||0||2 (0)||1||-||-||-||-|
|1980/81||38 (2)||13||6 (0)||4||2 (0)||0||-||-||3 (0)||0|
|1981/82||5 (0)||1||-||-||2 (0)||0||-||-||1 (2)||1|
|1988/89||44 (0)||26||3 (0)||3||2 (0)||1||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|1989/90||2 (0)||0||-||-||1 (1)||0||-||-||-||-|