Airbus have seen a few players come and go, legends like Tony Gray, Andrew Thomas, Mark Allen, but none have played as much Ryan Edwards. As Ryan approaches his tenth season with the club, we spoke to him about his thoughts on the past and the future ahead of our Cymru North campaign.

The 32-year-old was one of the first players to commit to the squad for the new season, and that allows Ryan to extend his appearance record for the club. His involvement in the new campaign is likely to be cruical.

On being apart of the club for the new season, Edwards had this to say, "It's a great club, and all the people behind the scenes are brilliant, so I'm proud to have another season here."

Last season was a difficult time for everyone at the club, a season that the veteran had to watch from the sidelines for large periods due to Injury. However, back to full fitness and with some of the Wingmakers' squad from last season still around, Edwards believes that there is a new hunger for the side to bounce back at the first attempt, helped by the influx of young talent.

"I think the way we went down in the end has made us more determined to do better than last year. It was a tough season, and we underachieved for the quality of player we had. This year we're even younger and inexperienced but the lads we have are so focused on doing well, and there seems to be a great team spirit."

Looking back, Edwards joined the club orginally back in 2006, and then re-joined back in 2016 after a four year spell at Bangor City. Ryan has experienced good and bad times during his career. A highlight the midfield player explained was "My debut in the league for the club at 17/18 was great, we got battered by TNS but it was still a good experience, also the whole time under Craig Harrison were good times and we had some great lads."

Edwards has also felt bad times during his career. For someone who plays for the badge on the shirt, and leaves everything on the pitch, when after a season of effort sees an unhappy ending, these low points have stuck with Ryan.  

"The two times we were relegated were bad times (2016/17 and 2019/20). Not great at all, especially when you see all the effort and support of the committee and the fans we have. To let them down is not a nice feeling."

Edwards who is one of the squads big personalities does have some regrets from his caereer, especially when he left for a move down to Nantporth. Whilst at the Citizens, we went on a hot streak, finishing second on a few occassions and reaching the Welsh Cup final, but it was contitental football that Edwards regrets missing the most.

"Although I had a great time at Bangor and played in Europe with them, missing out on it all with Airbus was a bit gutting." 

As we approach the new season, we expect a lot more of rivalries, especially against local teams such as Buckley, Gresford and Ruthin, but also former Cymru/Welsh Premier sides such as Llandudno, Prestatyn, Bangor and former English league side Colwyn Bay.  Most of these teams we played when we were last in tier two, but with the possibility of fiery and close encounters  ext season, what is Ryan looking forward to most?

"I actually enjoy this league more, not because the standard is lower just because the rivalries are better I think, and I enjoy the grounds and the teams we play. This season we are young but hungry and for those that were here last year we have a lot to prove so I'm looking forward to it. "

Something that has been great to see since returning to the club back in 2016, is the friendship and leadership that Edwards has with Club Captain Steve Tomassen, but how has this bond enabled the two be players to be players others look up to.

"I don't know really because we're probably two of the most laid back characters and love the laugh with the lads, but the lads know we lead by example on the pitch in games. We are very close and we have similar opinions me and tomo (Steve Tommassen), so we know this year we have to be at our best to help the lads get back to the Cymru Premier. "



So after 10 seasons at the Bus, how has the no. 7 changed from the fresh faced youngster to a mature leader?

"I've changed a lot as a player, I was a right back for years, then a defensive midfielder who didn't move much, and although I don't move very fast now, I make a lot more runs now and like to be higher up the pitch.

"Compared to earlier in my career when I used to like starting the play from the back four, as most who get older, they just get a bit more intelligent and develop a better football head because they can't do the things they could when they were younger. 

"If I was to look back, I would have tried a a bit harder. I've always been laid back and off the pitch and not really looked after myself. But when I play I give everything, so I am proud of that, therefore I don't really have regrets on the pitch, just maybe I could have given myself a better chance to play higher."

So with that, and the youth that is in the squad this season, something that Edwards knows from first hand experience the importance of the younger players being intergrated, and because of that, what advice would give the younger members of the squad?

"I always say to the younger lads especially the likes of Joe palmer who I'm close with, whether it's a higher league or just a better team, always play as high as you can, because you will regret it if you don't. But also you have to enjoy it, I think that's why a few have remained at the club as well as myself for so many years. "

Lastly, we as a club have had Steve O'Shaughenssy as our manager for over four years. The Wrexham-born boss has over 40 years of experience in the game. So, what impact has had on Edwards during his time at the club?

"He's been good to me as well as Skip (Mark Allen) and Andy Thomas, now Jamie Crowther as well. Shosh is very quiet but seems to know how to get a reaction out of me and then I play better. I know all the lads like him as well, especially as a bloke we all get on well. But all the coaching staff are a big reason why a lot stay at the club, it's fun to be around on and off the pitch and hopefully we can do better on the pitch this season."

Matt Baldwin, Airbus Media

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