TWO Newport County AFC promotion heroes from 2013 have paid an emotional tribute to former Exiles boss Justin Edinburgh.

The football world was shocked by the death of Edinburgh after a cardiac arrest last month.

The 49-year-old, who guided Leyton Orient to promotion as National League champions in May, was laid to rest at a private family funeral last week.

But friends and family will also gather to celebrate the life of the former Tottenham Hotspur defender at Chelmsford Cathedral next Tuesday at 11am.

On the eve of that special service, two key members of the Exiles squad that won promotion to League Two under Edinburgh six years ago have spoken of the special bond they shared with their manager during the 2012-2013 season.

Speaking to The Non-League Paper, Andy Sandell remembered how Edinburgh had convinced him to move to Rodney Parade in 2012.

“I’d fallen out of love with the game completely,” said the versatile left-sided defender, who played 45 games during the promotion-winning campaign.

“I got paid up by Wycombe, then went to play at Chippenham with my friends. I just wanted to enjoy football again.

“It was then that Justin knocked on the door and said ‘Come and play a couple of games for me, see how it goes’.

“I knew Jimmy [Dack, Edinburgh’s assistant] and a few of the lads, so I thought ‘Why not?’ They turned out to be some of the best years of my life.

“Justin never signed the easiest players to manage in terms of reputation and attitude,” added Sandell.

“But he got those players to perform, which says a hell of a lot about him.

“He was a friend, not a manager. If you had personal problems or financial difficulties or anything like that, you could go and talk to him. If he could, he’d try to find a solution.”

South Wales Argus:

Striker Christian Jolley scored 15 goals in 28 appearances that season, including the opener in the play-off final victory over Wrexham at Wembley.

He too paid tribute to the way Edinburgh brought out the best in him.

“You don’t realise how much somebody impacts your life until something tragic like this happens,” said the 31-year-old, now at Woking.

“But I played the best football of my career at Newport under Justin. He was responsible for that and I’ll be forever grateful.

“He was a supreme motivator, a very talented guy. Whether it was a rocket, a scream, a shoulder to cry on – he just knew what you needed.

“He had this ability to squeeze everyone for everything they were worth. He empowered you, but he did it differently with every player.

“He was just an amazing character, a proper bloke. It’s a tragedy he’s gone.”

South Wales Argus:

The Justin Edinburgh 3 Foundation, set up by Edinburgh's widow Kerri and children Charlie and Cydnie, is raising money to set up a charity in his name.

The foundation will be campaigning to change the law to ensure all health and fitness clubs across the UK are equipped with defibrillators.

To donate towards the £15,000 target visit