HEREFORD FC manager Pete Beadle says it was purely down to football as to why he released captain Joel Edwards and they did not part on bad terms.
Many supporters were gobsmacked when news broke late last Thursday evening that the popular Herefordian had been released after leading the Bulls to six trophies in two seasons, as well as becoming the first player to captain a county team at a Wembley final.
Beadle said he told Edwards that he will always be there for him and wished him well for the future, but he cannot make decisions based on sentiment.
“Joel is a local boy and has got family living here, but for where the club is trying to go, it was the right thing to do,” said Beadle.
“I’ve got certain expectations in certain positions and what I expect my players to do in terms of their performances.
“I asked Joel to do that this season and some things he did well but on other things he struggled a bit.
"People can see that he’s dynamic and see his commitment in his tackling but there were certain things that I asked from him and I haven’t quite seen it.”
Beadle – who would not elaborate on what he wanted Edwards to improve on – added that it would have been unfair to keep him as just a squad player, but does believe he has plenty to offer at another club.
“There is no doubt that he can play in this league, just not with us,” said Beadle.
“It’s just the way football is and I’ve always said that I will do things that I feel are right for this football club.
"I let people like Tony James go, but this was by far the toughest decision I had to make.
“But I cannot do things based on sentiment, I have to do what I think is right for the team and we felt that was time for a change in that position and we want something a bit different."
Edwards was not only a fans’ favourite due to his endeavour on the pitch, but also for what he did in the community and the relationship he had with young supporters.
Beadle said he expected Edwards would have been ‘gutted’ when he broke the news to him.
“When choosing a captain, you always look for a leader and that is exactly what we got,” said Beadle.
“In the Midland League and this league, he was the perfect choice for captain and I think I made the right choice, but the team needs to move forward.”
Edwards joined Hereford in the summer of 2015 from city rivals Westfields.
Andy Morris, the chief executive of Westfields, said he couldn’t believe it when he heard the news.
“He led the club to six trophies in two seasons, so I would have thought he would be the first name on the retained list,” said Morris.
“Joel is a local boy who has been a leader on the club’s journey.
“He has done presentation and gone to hospitals – he really is a fantastic ambassador and has been a great captain.
“But Peter Beadle is the manager and you cannot argue with his record.”
Westfields manager Sean Edwards added that Beadle has ‘got the tools’ to be ruthless and he has to do what he feels is right for the club.
“I was a bit surprised by the timing, but that is football and when you’re employed at a big club that has ambitions to go to a high level, your job is to make decisions that you think is right and you live and die by them.
“Joel is a quality player and led Hereford to Wembley and two league titles.
“He can certainly play in the Southern Premier, but maybe Pete Beadle is looking at it in a different way and Joel isn’t what he wants.
“You’ve got to give him credit for making the decision because he would have known the reaction it would have got.
“But’s he’s there to do a job and not make friends.”