JUSTIN Edinburgh celebrates his first year in charge of Newport County AFC today and the men who brought him to the club have paid tribute to the “fantastic” job he has done over the past 12 months.

The former Rushden & Diamonds manager was handed the reins at Spytty Park on October 4 last year with County one off the bottom of the Blue Square Bet Premier.

A year on and the Exiles are one off the top of the table with Edinburgh having overseen a complete overhaul of his playing staff and a transformation in form, as well as the move to Rodney Parade.

He ensured survival last season following the disastrous start to the campaign under his predecessor Anthony Hudson and steered County to their first visit to Wembley.

It’s been a rollercoaster year in charge and former chairman Chris Blight is delighted that the decision to appoint Edinburgh has been vindicated and predicts a bright future for the club.

“We’d had our eye on Justin for a while,” said Blight. “The second he became available he went to the top of the list of people we wanted to appoint.

“With my role in the Football Conference I’d heard a lot of people speaking very highly of Justin and we were delighted when he agreed to join the club.

“He joined a fairly tormented squad after a very difficult time at the start of last season but it didn’t take him long to put his own stamp on things.

“The main ambition last season was to stay up and he achieved that, with a trip to Wembley thrown in as a bonus as well.

“And the way we have started this season has been superb.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Justin. He’s done a fantastic job.”

Blight is happy to have become simply a fan of the club since stepping down as chairman and believes his successor Les Scadding deserves praise as well.

“Justin is getting very good support from Les and the board of directors and I’m sure he’s very happy with that,” he added.

“The last time we paid a fee for a player was for Lee John (in 2007) and with the income from the new ground, a good team and a good manager things are looking up.”

Current board member Howard Greenhaf, who also played a part in bringing Edinburgh to the club, said: “Justin is a top manager and a top man.

“I think he will be a Premier League manager but hopefully we can hang on to him as long as possible and he can take us into the Football League first.”