NEWS: A strong start to a long awaited season for Erdington United FC

Words by Liam Smith / Pics by Ultimate Kingz & Erdington United

Sunday League football is back in full flow with the ending of lockdowns and the easing of Covid restrictions this year.

Excitement has been building over the summer for the players at Erdington United FC (EUFC), who are now getting back on the pitch for some long awaited fixtures.

Erdington United FC are off to a strong start in their current season, securing a 3-0 victory away from home for their season opener, followed by a 4-1 home victory against Hundred Acre Streetly.

In their most recent fixture Erdington United again came out worthy winners, giving Castle Vale Olympic a thrashing with a 9-1 win.

The club have moved to the Sutton League from the Festival League in search of a new challenge, after a comfortable title win in their first season. EUFC have been placed into Division One, after some pre-season and cup success.

Erdington Local caught up with their manager, Tyler Ward, who is optimistic about the season ahead – as well as giving an insight into the club’s beginnings.

“We’re a club who have most of our players from and based in Erdington,” told Ward. “We’re a young side with many of us having known each other for the past 10+ years, having gone to school together etc.”

EUFC’s manager is confident on his team’s success this season, after their first season title wins. At the point of being confirmed as league champions last season, Erdington United had a 100% record in the league – something which Tyler believes can help them push on with their aims this season.

“Our priority for the season is to get promoted into the Premier Division, and to get as far as possible in the four cup competitions we’re in. We know the quality we have amongst the players. We are confident that come summer we’ll be exactly where we need to be.”

Erdington United are always on the lookout for players to further improve and develop their squad; information on specific player profiles they are looking to fill can be found on their social media.

The club play their home games at Holly Lane on Sundays and always welcome people to go along and watch.

Regular updates on fixtures and results are also posted on their social media platforms – with all links available via the Erdington United FC website.

For more on Erdington United FC visit www.erdingtonunited.org

SPORT: Erdington UFC star Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards back in the Octagon – looking at a win to clinch the title shot

Words by Adam Smith

Erdington MMA star Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards is headlining the UFC Fight Night at the UFC Apex in Vegas on Saturday 13th March (GMT) night, after being promised a spectacular performance will give him a world title shot.

Edwards had four fights cancelled in the last 20 months due to COVID-19 so is raring to get into the Octagon against Belal Muhammad.

With a total of six fights on the card, the UFC Fight Night will be live streamed on BT Sport 1 from 10:30pm (GMT) on Saturday 13th March. Edwards is expected to enter the Octagon at around 4:30am (GMT) on Sunday 14th March.

Despite the disappointment of missing out on headlining UFC London against Tyron Woodley last March, and seeing three fights against Khamzat Chimaev cancelled, Edwards believes he is now stronger than ever.

He said: “It was disappointing when Woodley it got cancelled but I thought ‘you know what, let’s use this time to improve my skills and my mindset’.

“I’ve had a year and a half in the gym, out of training camps, and my overall game is so much better – my grappling, my wrestling, my striking.”

Edwards contracted coronavirus in December but insists he has had no long-lasting effects.

He said: “I lost a lot of weight, 6kg. I lost my appetite for food; my smell and my taste went.

“I had two weeks off and went back to training, but I struggled with my lungs, I didn’t feel myself. My coach said: ‘you’re operating at 50% of the fighter you can be’.

“I’m back to normal now, my strength is back and my weight is back up.”

‘Rocky’ is on an eight fight winning streak and is ranked third in the world in the highly competitive welterweight division.

UFC supremo Dana White this week said Edwards will be “100% next in line” to fight champion Kamaru Usman if he wins spectacularly.

Edwards said: “If I put in a great performance, I can’t see where else I can go other than a title shot, I’m looking forward to showing fans I’m the best in the world.

“It would be proof to all the kids out there in Britain that you can do it. I spent all my time in Birmingham so it would be nice to show the kids you can reach the top by staying in England.”

Leon Edwards faces off against Belal Muhammad

For more information about Leon Edwards visit www.ufc.com/athlete/leon-edwards

For more on UFC from BT Sport, visit www.bt.com/sport/ufc