The Ed’s were officially formed in 1997 by Edward Simpson, who at the time was playing with a Wandsworth Club. I had a good look at the hockey 'product' and with the digital era slowly becoming a way of life, the old model of play/old clubhouse really didn't enable Clubs to offer better hockey, social life, more often than not set in their old traditional ways.
When I approached Chris Burty (whom I am glad to see is still working with South League hockey) he couldn't have been more helpful. The official naming and brand of the London Edwardians HC was born. We were entered into Surrey County 1st XI Div 2 in 1998.
I spent some time and effort to ensure that our brand, our way of playing, hockey, the social life post match, our sponsors, our way of being seen by those we would meet on the circuit, would build not just a positive first impression, but THE Hockey Club in Central London both on and off the pitch. To date I believe that London Edwardians is exactly that, THE Hockey Club for Central London.
In 1997 we toured to Washington DC in the JFK Memorial Tournament, with players from Spencer, Wayfarers, and Ed's. This tournament was for national teams B squads, and THE Ed's. We won the plate against India A 1-0!
Ed’s in their first league year - 1998 - having successfully recruited a squad of 22 players and keepers, went onto to win Surrey County 1st XI div 2 in their first year, we scored over 120+ goals, running riot against the likes of Bank of England. We really had a great squad, Spencer McDonald I think was player of the season!
The Ed’s were quickly being recognised as not only a great hockey side, but one that looked beyond hockey with an amazing social life, it was not unheard of for various members to still be in shin pads, Ed’s shorts, socks, and top, having had a skinful at the then infamous Legless Ladder (legless being the right word) to go onto The Grand, only to be refused entry whilst protesting that they were in a uniform and should be allowed in, with nowhere else to go but the Wessex House.
Every one had an ‘Ed’ nickname, so for example ‘Nurse’ might become ‘NurseEd’, Spence was ‘FluffEd’, others were MattEd, Ed K, Ed S (we got off lightly!),Von BlottEd, TimEd, HailEd, StupEd, and so forth, maybe time to resurrect an Ed handle for all Ed’s today?!
We put lot of effort into the Ed’s brand, sponsors (Ed’s Easy Diner, John Smiths Smooth, Lucozade, Hockey Centre, The Legless Ladder, etc perfect sponsors!), the teams, where we played, how we played, website, that combined made for a lasting experience, this as you can imagine was way different to what was being offered by other clubs at the time, like one which was founded in 1905 in Wandsworth…which we broke loose from to set up the Ed’s.
By season three we had 2 mens teams, a ladies 1st XI – Fiona Morris was inspirational in helping me expand the club, and by season 5 we had 3 mens teams, and four ladies teams… With the club growing fast, we were competing in both league and cup, one of which saw us take on March Town in the semi’s of the H.A Trophy – our bus broke down in Stevenage, we had to get taxi’s for the rest of the journey, we pulled off the impossible, celebrations followed with every man of us drinking their club house dry.
The Ed’s continue to go from strength to strength, facing new challenges, making new and renewing old contacts, always social, playing great hockey, and I genuinely believe that what we have all achieved is a belief in each other as players, as a team, as a club, and to field hockey in general.
The brand ‘Ed’s’ is known throughout the Hockey world – from Hong Kong to Dublin, from Holland to Washington DC our brand is growing. From encouraging your fellow ‘Ed’s’ on the sidelines, to continuing the drive and impetus already achieved, to future growth and brand development, I firmly believe the fun and the work put in by past, current and future Ed's maintains Central London' LEADING Club.
It was a great day for Ed's when the Men's 1st XI achieved National League status and hopefully the ladies will progress further up the leagues; to have 5 Ed’s mens and 6 ladies Ed’s, several colts Ed’s, and their own Clubhouse/Pitch!?
My thanks to pastEd’s and currentEd’s.
Do send me your experience with The Ed's, or send me an email mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org