The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Craig Chis­nall

JUSTIN ED­IN­BURGH has worked hard to be­come a Football League man­ager. And when I say ‘hard’ that’s not do­ing the New­port County boss jus­tice.

The for­mer Tot­ten­ham full­back’s jour­ney be­gan a decade ago when he took the reins at Bil­ler­icay Town in the Ry­man League in his na­tive Es­sex.

That was fol­lowed by spells at Fisher, Grays and Rush­den & Di­a­monds, where football paled into in­signif­i­cance com­pared to what he went through off it.

Ed­in­burgh’s strength of char­ac­ter as a man, not just as a man­ager, was tested when Di­a­monds keeper Dale Roberts, a huge favourite in a tight Nene Park dress­ing room, took his own life.


The Di­a­monds later folded to leave Ed­in­burgh and sev­eral staff mem­bers un­em­ployed.

All of that con­sid­ered, it is easy to see why County’s dream re­turn to the League with a 4-1 win over Ac­cring­ton and 3-1 win at Brighton in the League Cup in mid­week has caused Ed­in­burgh to re­flect.

“It’s been a spe­cial week for ev­ery­one in­volved with this club,” Ed­in­burgh said.

“To beat Ac­cring­ton in the man­ner we did and then to go to a top end Cham­pi­onship club and win was in­cred­i­ble.

“I’ve waited an aw­ful long time to get to this level and gone through a lot dur­ing my time in the Non-League game. “I had to deal with things no football man­ager should ever have to go through. See­ing peo­ple at Rush­den lose their jobs was just dread­ful but noth­ing com­pared to what we went through af­ter Dale.

“He was just a lovely and in­cred­i­bly tal­ented lad. I’ve got a few Rush­den lads here at New­port with me and there’s not a day goes by when we don’t think about him.

“You do take stock and look back when you’ve achieved some­thing and we can all be very proud of the way we’ve started this new chal­lenge.”

But Ed­in­burgh, who won both do­mes­tic cups with Spurs, would not swap his man­age­rial ground­ing.

He even made head­lines this week when he said Seag­ulls boss Os­car Gar­cia had been for­tu­nate to land the cov­eted role. “There are so many top man­agers in the Con­fer­ence and be­low and more of th­ese boys should be given a chance,” adds Ed­in­burgh, firmly stick­ing to his guns.


“I wasn’t hav­ing a go at Os­car at all, it’s just peo­ple in Leagues One and Two and be­low never get a look in and that means the Con­fer­ence boys don’t as well. That’s re­ally frus­trat­ing.

“The three man­agers who won pro­mo­tion from the Cham­pi­onship last sea­son were Malky Mackay, Steve Bruce and Ian Hol­loway. “All Bri­tish so we must be do­ing some­thing right some­where. “I’ve al­ways been des­per­ate to be a Football League man­ager. I thought it would hap­pen sooner than it has but now I’m here I don’t in­tend stand­ing still. As a player I got to the top level and I’d like to think I can do the same as a man­ager.”

If the job he’s do­ing at Rod­ney Pa­rade is any­thing to go by big­ger clubs will soon be cir­cling.

In the 22 months since he took the reins in South Wales he’s guided the club out of rel­e­ga­tion trou­ble, mas­ter­minded pro­mo­tion and now started life in the League bril­liantly.

Welsh football has never been health­ier with Cardiff and Swansea in the Pre­mier League but Ed­in­burgh does have a word of cau­tion for Ex­iles fans get­ting ahead of them­selves. “It’s two games and there’s a long, old slog ahead. Un­for­tu­nately for the fans I’m not go­ing to say we’re go­ing to win this, that and the other.


“We’ll look to sta­bilise the club at this level and see where it takes us. We’ve only just em­ployed our sec­ond full-time staff mem­ber off the pitch with a sec­re­tary com­ing in to join the chief ex­ec­u­tive.

“The con­ti­nu­ity of keep­ing the squad to­gether has been key. We’ve got 15 lads to­gether and the spirit and to­geth­er­ness they have will take us a long way.

“Last year the aim was to get in and around the top ten and push on at Christ­mas if we could.

“For­tu­nately we got off to a flyer and never dropped out of the top five, man­aged to add a player or two and we did the job in the play­offs.

“Win­ning pro­mo­tion helped keep this squad to­gether as League One and Two clubs were af­ter four or five of our play­ers.

“We’ve also added qual­ity in the likes of Harry Wor­ley, Chris Ze­broski, Ryan Jack­son, Adam Chap­man and Jamie Stephens and they will all grow here.

“If we can get on a run then you never know. The club is head­ing in the right di­rec­tion and as long as it’s do­ing that I will be a happy man.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

GO­ING UP IN THE WORLD: Justin Ed­in­burgh gets the bumps form his de­lighted New­port play­ers af­ter se­cur­ing pro­mo­tion in the play-off Left: Chris­tian Jol­ley cel­e­brates the first play-off goal with Ed­in­burgh

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