Willis Edwards

Willis Edwards (28 April 1903 – 27 September 1988) was an English professional football player and manager.

Willis Edwards
Personal information
Full name Willis Edwards
Date of birth 28 April 1903
Place of birth Newton, Derbyshire, England
Date of death 27 September 1988(1988-09-27) (aged 85)
Place of death Leeds, England
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[1]
Position(s) Right half
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1919–1925 Chesterfield 70 (?)
1925–1943 Leeds United 417 (6)
National team
1926–1929 England 16 (0)
Teams managed
1947–1948 Leeds United
1958 Leeds United (Caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only


Edwards was born in the mining village of Newton, North East Derbyshire, not far from Chesterfield and Alfreton. Like many boys in the area, he left school to go down the pit but he was soon spotted by Chesterfield as a teenager, playing for the village football team Newton Rangers.[2]


Having been close to joining Blackburn Rovers, he instead signed for Chesterfield, where he made his debut in 1919 at the age of just 16.[2] He went on to play 70 league games for the Spireites before joining Leeds United towards the end of the 1924–25 season.

Leeds United

Edwards played for the Elland Road club for 18 years, during which time he was never booked or sent off. He went on to make 444 appearances. Edwards continued turning out for Leeds during the war years and remained at the club after the war. On retiring as a player, he became assistant and he took over the managerial reins when Billy Hampson was dismissed in May 1947. His time as manager was relatively unsuccessful and he resumed his place in the backroom staff in April 1948, where he acted as a scout for the club. He only ended his association with Leeds in 1960, after serving the club for 35 years.[2]


Edwards was capped by England on 16 occasions. His first cap was against Wales on 1 March 1926. He captained England in his last five internationals, with his final appearance on 20 November 1929.[3]

After football

In his later working years, he was employed at a jam factory.[2]

He died in Leeds on 27 September 1988.[4]


  1. "Optimists of the North. Chesterfield". Athletic News. Manchester. 6 August 1923. p. 6.
  2. "Players/Managers: Willis Edwards - Player (1925-43) - Manager (1947-48)". The definitive history of Leeds United. mightyleeds.co.uk. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  3. "Willis Edwards". England International Database 1872-2012. England Stats. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  4. "Willis Edwards". England Football Online. Retrieved 20 January 2014.