Hull born inside right Maurice Edelston began his senior football career at Fulham as an amateur, signing for them in July 1935, his father Joe being the club’s reserve team manager, and aged 17 he made his Football League debut at Leicester City in March 1936. He was selected for Great Britain in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin that August and played in their 2-0 win over China, and also in a 4-1 friendly defeat to Germany in Hamburg four days after their elimination by Poland, for which he wasn’t selected.
He played twice more for Fulham in the autumn of 1937, following his father to Brentford in December 1937, for whom he played twice in April 1938 and then scored 5 goals in 19 further appearances in 1938-39. Still an amateur, he won his first England Amateur cap in a 1-0 defeat to Scotland at Dulwich in March 1937, and scored his first goal for England Amateurs on the occasion of his next cap in the return fixture a year later, which England won 5-2 at Hampden Park. He also scored twice in a 4-0 win over Jersey in St Helier in an unofficial match in May 1938 and scored for England in an international trial against The Rest at Hastings that December before winning 3 more Amateur caps, scoring in a 5-2 win over Wales at Whaddon Road Cheltenham in January 1939, playing as England won 1-0 against Ireland at Cliftonville Gardens, Belfast the nest month, and scoring a hat-trick as England thrashed Scotland 8-3 at Dulwich in March to secure the ‘Triple Crown’ in what would be their last match for eight years.
In club football, Edelston played for London University and represented The Corinthians from 1938, before joining Reading in May 1939, where his father was manager, scoring twice in the three opening League fixtures of the 1939-40 season before the outbreak of the Second World War forced the abandonment of peacetime football for the next seven years. During the War Edelston made five wartime appearances for England in 1941 and 1942, scoring once, and also played and scored for the Army and FA Services teams.
After the War Edelston turned professional, and after scoring for them in a 1946 FA Cup tie, he was a regular goalscorer in their first six post war League seasons, netting hat-tricks in his first two League games in a 10-2 thumping of Crystal Palace and a 7-2 victory over Southend United within 4 days at the beginning of September 1946, finishing the season as their second top goalscorer with 19 goals. He remained a regular goalscorer for Reading and by the time he joined Northampton Town in July 1952 he had scored 82 goals in 226 appearances. He finished his career with 17 goals in 45 appearances over two seasons with The Cobblers, before retiring from playing at the end of 1953.
Around the late 1950’s he went into broadcasting and was a regular BBC radio commentator by 1960. During the 1960s he also commentated for BBC television and Southern Television. Although most of his commentaries were on football, he also covered tennis, especially Wimbledon. He was a summariser on England’s 1966 World Cup victory as well as the FA Cup Final in 1967 and 1968. He commentated on the event from 1969 to 1975. He reached his peak around the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, when he was broadcasting almost every week, covering European Finals and England matches, as well as a number of League title deciders (Arsenal’s victory at Tottenham Hotspur in 1971, and Wolves’ defeat of Leeds which handed the title to Derby County in 1972). He also co-wrote the books Masters of Soccer and Wickets, Tries and Goals.
By the mid-1970’s, his career was somewhat in decline as the emergence of Alan Parry was denying him the chance to commentate on matches such as England vs Scotland in 1975, and the controversial European Cup Final in which Bayern Munich beat Leeds United four days later. However, he continued to cover tennis during the summer of 1975 and was still broadcasting regularly when he died suddenly from a heart attack in Tilehurst on 30th January 1976, aged 57.
A library at the Reading Blue Coat School is named after him, as is an award that Reading present to the outstanding schoolboy in their Academy.
His father Joe Edelston played for Hull City, Manchester City and Fulham and also had a successful coaching career at Fulham, Brentford and Reading.