who don't know me my name is Simone, I'm 37 years old and I live in Milan. I
love football in all its forms. I’m an Ipswich Town (and I am extremely proud
to be the president of the ITFC Italian Branch) and AC Milan (the team of my
city) supporter. I'm never been good at playing football but I've always tried
to play for fun, with passion. I also love football shirts, the history of
football, football books, football films, football videogames ... in short, I’m
never satisfied from all this that it is much more than a game. Because if it
were only a game it would be an end in itself; but this passion brought me to
know people, friends, cultures, stories that helped me to make me who I am. I
see all this as my "football family" an integral part of my life.
this article I want to tell you about one of the most beautiful stories that
has happened to me thanks to football: the history of my friendship with Carlos
Edwards, the footballer, who has now become "my friend Carlos" ...
Carlos Edwards was born on October 24th 1978 in Diego Martin (Trinidad&Tobago).
"Akenhaton, is he related to the Pharaoh?"
"Haha love that… Yeah my dad named me after the Pharaoh, and my Grandad
named me Carlos after a famous boxer…It’s strange…”
So, we have
the names of a Pharaoh and a famous boxer (Carlos Monzon); nobody could have
known that this newborn would have been successful but, for sure, these names
were auspicious, so, at the end, it’s not very strange.
a footballer, in his native Trinidad&Tobago playing in local teams (Patna
United, Queen's Park CC and Defense Force) but with the new millennium came the
turning point: in 2000 the great opportunity arrived in the UK where he starts
to establish himself as a level player starting to grind kilometres on the
right wing. Wrexham, Luton, Sunderland, Wolverhampton, Ipswich and Millwall on
a 16-year professional career journey through all 4 levels of English
professional football from League Two to the Premier League. A journey full of
satisfaction that made him popular and loved wherever he played. In 2016 he
returned to his homeland for play with Mau Pau Stars and Central FC. Since 2017
Carlos has returned to Suffolk to continue playing at non-league level: he
plays the joint role of player-manager at Woodbridge Town and from 2020, when
not engaged with the Peckers, he also plays with Bury Town.
has an excellent international career: he represented Trinidad&Tobago from
1999 to 2017: with the "Soca Warriors" he reached the peak in 2006
when he participated at the World Cup. Even today, Trinidad&Tobago is the
representative of the smallest country in terms of extension (the second in
terms of population, overtaken by Iceland in 2018) to have participated at the
"this "miracle " earned you a great award....”
”Chaconia Medal was awarded to us for qualifyng for the 2006 World cup: I was
awarded the gold medal which is the second highest award in
want to write too much on Edwards' brilliant career, this kind of information is
easy to find on the web, I prefer telling you about the Carlos that I had the
fortune to meet….
Ipswich fan, I always admired Edwards when I saw him play. Ductile in all roles
on the right wing, technical, fast, smart: our captain was always solid, a
security, one you can always count on. Every time I saw one of his games, I
never worried about his performance: I knew that, whatever the results, he
would not have disappointed me. One of the differences between watching and
seeing a football game is to understand that there is not only those who score
goals: there’s a team and Carlos has always done an excellent job in his role
giving 100%. I have always loved and appreciated all this and it was not
difficult for me to consider him my favorite player.
time I met Carlos was in March 2013 for the Supporter's Weekend at Portman
Road. For that occasion we had thought of rewarding the player of the year for
our branch and, as said before, we had no doubts about who he was. Thanks to
the availability of the Club we were able to organize it, so we had a plaque
made and we brought it with us to Ipswich. The game in question was against
Bolton and the award ceremony would take place after the game: the match was
very balanced and tense at 0 - 0 when Carlos pounded the winning goal at the
end! What about ... did we bring luck?
those moments with great emotion, you never know what to expect when you meet a
professional footballer: you admire him on the field, but contrary to what some
fans may think you don't really know him, you can only idealize him. But Carlos
transmitted joy and sympathy just by seeing him. I remember the delivery of the
plaque, the ritual photo but, above all, the chat that followed (where we found
out we were fans of the same Italian team!) It impressed me because I realized
that it would not end there…. Now I don't know why, I was lucky enough to meet
many players and Carlos certainly met even more fans, but from the beginning it
seemed to me something different. From the first moment I didn't feel treated
by him as a fan but as a person; the footballer-fan condition, which is normal
in these contexts, had disappeared and, of course, I was very happy with this.
once back in Milan I received a Tweet from Carlos who thanked me and the guys,
and from there we started to write to each other constantly to keep in touch:
we met again the following year and not because we were "forced to" due
to the delivery of a prize but because we wanted to meet. Among other things,
Carlos didn’t even play that game and despite this (pissed off and difficulties
of the moment) he was there to meet me and the guys of our branch.
cold shower: Carlos leaves Ipswich. I know that for a professional footballer,
football is also a job and things can change quickly, and if I thought that
something would change in our relationship, it didn’t.
with Carlos that perhaps I prefer took place in the summer of 2015: at the time
I was on vacation in London with Elisa (my wife) and Carlos was at Millwall,
but he was recovering from a bad injury that had kept him out for a year. We organized
anyway and the appointment was at The Den after the game and it was wonderful
for me because it went beyond the team where Carlos played and went beyond the
team that I support. As a testimony to Elisa's words (it was the first time she
had met him) after the meeting while we walked (on foot!) happily along the
road from The Den to Tower Bridge (where we had the hotel): “I didn't think you
were such good friends, Carlos is a really top man!”.
have never been lacking over the years, despite our changing lives, and the
last meeting with Carlos took place last month in Woodbridge.
distance, despite everything: I don't know if I give the right idea and I don't
think that these lines fully express my emotions and gratitude, but I wanted to
try to show Carlos as a man and not only as a footballer. He was a top level
player but what matters most is that, beyond football, he is an extraordinary,
generous and always available guy.
idea of this interview that I have the pleasure to share with you all...
S: "Here we are Carlos, 7
questions as your number at ITFC... let's go!
1. S: “You're linked with Italy, not
only because you're our friend, but also for supporting an Italian club: tell
us how you started to support AC Milan and your passion for the Rossoneri...”
C: “I'm linked with Italy because I
love you guys, and of course my love for AC MILAN.
I started supporting AC Milan when I was a young boy back in my home
country of Trinidad &Tobago, as a kid you always want to watch the
best team and they were always the best for me, there's no other
team I’ll support. “
2. S: “Which is your favourite
player of all time, the best player you have played with and the best player
you have played against? “
C: “My favourite player of all
time is Marco van Basten, best player I played with will be Liam Miller (RIP)
and the best player I played against will be Joe Cole, what a player in
3. S: “You played for ITFC for 5
seasons, select your favourite XI including you and 10 teammates of that period
(choose your formation and put yourself in your favourite position)"
I'll put myself in as a wing back,
myself and Cresswell worked really well on opposite sides.”
4. S: “Me and some other lads of the
Italian branch have a great passion for football shirts: which are your favourite
kits (one from home and one from away) that you wore during your time
C: “My favourite will be, 2013/14
season i think, the blue with the white sleeve, and the away one is the Red
with the black sleeve.”
5. S: “Which are the best memories
of your career?”
C: “My best memories in my career
will be being at Sunderland winning promotion to the Premier league, and
playing in the Premier league, great memories!”
6. S: “We met recently in Woodbridge
(you are player-manager there), this explains your infinite love for the game:
you are still playing at 41 and showing the same genuine passion for the sport
that we love... You played at the highest level, how is it playing alongside
non-professional footballers? And which are the main differences between pro
and amateur football?“
C: “It was great seeing you guys,
and giving us some support can't thank you enough, I live, breathe
football so the passion I showed when I played at the highest is the
same I do now even at the age of 41, playing at this level is challenging,
some players don't take it as seriously.
The difference between Pro and amateur football, pros train every day
and get paid really good hahahaha! Amateurs really love the game regardless of
the crowd or pay, even though some players will love to play and can play
at a higher level.”
7. S: “What are your plans for the
C: “My plans for the
future are to someday manage at a high level, it’s always good seeing you
guys, and its 1 of my dreams to come to Italy to watch my great AC Milan with
S: "See you soon in England and
we are waiting for you here in Milan to watch an AC Milan match together then
... thanks for your time Carlos ..."
C: "I love you guys!"
have liked to ask Carlos a further question which was: "What do you think about
the fans and
their role in the life of a footballer?" but, then, I didn't
do it because I thought there was no need and so it was ... he has already
answered himself the various questions demonstrating that sometimes a history
of cheering can become a story of friendship.