They say home is where the heart is and feeling the love at Dundee United means there’s no place Ryan Edwards would rather be.
Signing on for an extra year was a real sign of commitment not only from club to player but the other way round, too.
With the Liverpudlian’s family and girlfriend still south of the border, many thought the defender would act on the speculation linking with a move closer to home to the likes of Fleetwood Town, Tranmere Rovers and Wigan.
However, the 27-year-old says he’s devoting his best years to the Tangerines after striking up a real bond with the club.
‘It’s a big decision but it’s been helped by the love I felt from the club’
“I’ve been enjoying it,” Edwards said.
“I’ve loved it up here and, again, a big thing for me to consider was my family is still down south.
“That’s been well highlighted and probably why people felt I was going to move on.
“All things considered, at the end of the day, I’ve come here to play football and that’s what I want to do.
“I’ve no family up here but they should be up more than they were last season.
“They love coming to games.
“When I was at the other end of the country, down at Plymouth, it was further away from Liverpool and they were still down there every week supporting me.
“It’ll be no different up here now fans are back in.
“My girlfriend will be up here as much as she can as well.
“It’s something we all spoke about because it’s a big decision but it’s been helped by the love I felt from the club.”
Top six and cup runs the target for Edwards
On the face of it, everything happened quickly with Edwards’ new agreement.
It was only on Monday United head coach Thomas Courts revealed they had entered into ‘informal discussions’ with the centre-half over extending his stay.
It was, seemingly, wrapped up in a matter of days.
However, Edwards says the truth is very different and he’s had an agonising wait to get things over the line – dealing with Covid isolation, attempting to return to full fitness and missing games in the process.
He added: “It’s been a mad few weeks with everything going on, starting with Covid and coming back to the pitch after missing out on a few games.
“There’s always been talks ongoing and it’s no secret there was interest down south.
“But after speaking to (sporting director) Tony (Asghar) continuously through the summer and the manager with his ambitions for the season and how he wants it to go, it made the decision that much easier.
“Why would I want to move elsewhere when I feel I can be a vital part of something at a club with the same ambitions as me?
“I was right up for staying but it’s going to be a tough season and, hopefully, another enjoyable one where we can push that wee bit further into the top six and go deeper in the cups.
“Tam, the staff he’s brought in and Tony have been vital to me staying and, hopefully, we can all go that step further.”
Ryan keen to shake the cobwebs off
After missing pre-season and their Premier Sports Cup opening day win over Kelty Hearts, Edwards played the first half of United’s 6-1 Group B win over Elgin on Wednesday night.
He enjoyed playing in front of home fans for the first time in his Terrors career but isn’t sure they’ll be too pleased about his new deal after his involvement in Elgin’s shock opening goal.
Ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Arbroath, he explained: “It’s a good job the relationship was already in place because I had a nightmare start!
“I’ve still to get a few cobwebs off and, obviously, wasn’t great for the goal.
“It’s my first 45 back so I’ll get back to the standards I know I can reach soon, no problem.
“The fans know that as well and that’s why they want me here.
“People have more minutes than others at the minute and I’m a little behind having come back late.
“I’ve got a lot of catching up to do but it’s another chance against Arbroath.
“We’ll be hoping to get some more goals, a clean sheet and get into good habits for Aberdeen at the start of August.”