IT was sad to learn of the passing away earlier this month of Maurice Edwards – a name well-known in football thanks to his long association with Brian Clough and Peter Taylor, but who was also a former Burton Albion player.
Maurice was an Albion player in the 1950s and came back to help Peter Taylor in the 1960s when the Brewers keeper was handed the manager’s job. He began by refereeing the Brewers training games for Taylor and, trusted for his shrewd analysis of players, started a relationship with Taylor that would see him move into scouting.
Through Peter Taylor, he was introduced to Brian Clough and became the pair’s chief scout for 21 years including working for Derby County, Brighton, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest.
He later wrote a book about his experiences called A Right Pair – 21 Years with Clough and Taylor.
Douglas Maurice Edwards was born in Burton on February 21,1927. He passed his 11 plus and went to Guild Street Central School. He was keen at all sports and was proud of a swimming record at the old Burton baths but there was no football played at school and it was jumpers for goalposts down at the rec for the young Maurice.
He left school before his 15th birthday to go and work for Ind Coope with the Second World War still raging. In September 1944 aged 17 he joined the Royal Navy and started playing service football.
Back home he played in the Burton and District second division at right half for the Municipal Officers Guild.
He impressed enough to be invited to join Burton Albion as an amateur for the club’s second season in 1951/2. He was recommended to manager Billy Wrigglesworth by the club trainer Bertie Mee (later Arsenal manager) as a promising full back.
When Bill Sneddon became Brewers boss Maurice was offered pro terms but refused initially so he could keep his amateur status but when he failed in a bid to play for the England amateur team later accepted an offer but struggled at times to combine that with work at the Gas Board and training college in Fulham often having to use up holiday to play for the Brewers.
Sadly, his football playing career came to an end in 1955 in a senior cup tie when he suffered a cruciate knee ligament that in those days was a career ending injury.
In 1957 he became a sub-postmaster in Burton, expanding his business into a newsagent and shop as well but with his love of the game still strong in 1958/9 he was persuaded by Burton and District FA to become a referee. To keep fit he began training with Burton Albion and was asked to referee the club’s training games.
It was through that he came to work for Peter Taylor and then Brian Clough becoming their confidante and an important part of their backroom team.
He wrote his book about that time at the age of 83 in 2010 which was well received in the football world.
It has become a lasting tribute to Maurice as well and is still available to buy through Amazon.