Dean Richards (footballer)

Dean Richards (footballer)
Dean Richards
Personal information
Full name Dean Ivor Richards
Date of birth 9 June 1974(1974-06-09)
Place of birth Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
Date of death 26 February 2011(2011-02-26) (aged 36)
Place of death Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
1990–1992 Bradford City
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–1995 Bradford City 86 (4)
1995 Wolverhampton Wanderers (loan) 10 (2)
1995–1999 Wolverhampton Wanderers 112 (5)
1999–2001 Southampton 67 (3)
2001–2005 Tottenham Hotspur 73 (4)
Total 348 (17)
National team
1995 England U21 4 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Dean Ivor Richards (9 June 1974 – 26 February 2011) was an English footballer who played as a defender. He began his career at hometown club Bradford City before a four year stay with Wolverhampton Wanderers. He left to play Premier League football with Southampton and finally Tottenham Hotspur. He also made four appearances for England under-21s.

Richards retired from playing in 2005 due to health concerns, but later returned to the game as a coach at Bradford. He died six years later at the age of 36.


Playing career

Bradford City

Richards was born in Bradford, where he attended Rhodesway School.[1] As a central-defender, he started his career at his home town club Bradford City. He played 86 league games for the Bantams, scoring four goals, and playing 102 games in all competitions.[2]

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Richards moved on loan to promotion-chasing Wolverhampton Wanderers in March 1995, making his debut on 1 April in a 1–0 win at Southend. A permanent deal was quickly arranged for a then-club record fee of £1.85 million in the close season, shortly after the club had lost in the play-offs.

Richards made four England under-21 appearances at the Toulon Tournament in 1995, making his debut as captain against Brazil. England reached the semi-final of the competition but lost to hosts France.[3]

During the 1995–96 season he was elevated to the role of club captain but, in January 1996, he was in a car crash that initially seemed to only leave him with a bruised ankle but later revealed an injured knee and back issues.[4] He subsequently missed much of the following two seasons due to persistent injuries. On the field, his performances earned the attention of the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United.[5][6]

He remained with the club until his contract expired at the end of the 1998–99 season; ironically his final game saw his former club Bradford win promotion to the Premier League at Molineux while Wolves missed out on a play-off place.[7][8]


In July 1999, he reached the Premier League when he was signed for Southampton by Dave Jones on a free transfer.[9] He settled quickly into the Southampton side despite replacing the popular Ken Monkou. He was voted the fans' Player of the Year at the end of his first season.

In the three seasons Richards was at the Saints, he made 79 appearances in all competitions and found the net seven times, before joining Tottenham Hotspur in September 2001.[9][10]

Tottenham Hotspur

He impressed new manager Glenn Hoddle so much that, when Hoddle moved to Tottenham Hotspur in March 2001, he tried to take Richards with him. This led to a drawn-out battle of words between chairman Rupert Lowe and the Tottenham board, which ended when Spurs paid £8.1 million to persuade Lowe to release Richards from his contract which he had only signed a few months earlier.[9]

Richards never realised his full potential at Tottenham due to persistent injury problems, and never fulfilled his ambition to play for his country. At the time, his transfer fee to Tottenham was the highest amount ever paid by a club for a player who had not played internationally.[11]

In March 2005, he announced his retirement from the game due to illness after receiving "evidence that it would be harmful to his health to continue". He said: "I am obviously deeply disappointed to be giving up the sport I love, but it's the only choice."[12] He was suffering from frequent dizzy spells and headaches that were initially thought to be an inner-ear infection.[13]


Having gained his coaching qualifications, Richards returned to Bradford City on 3 August 2007, when it was confirmed that he was taking a part-time role as youth coach.[14]


Richards died at the age of 36 on the morning of 26 February 2011 at St. Gemma's Hospice, Leeds after a long-term illness.[12]

On 6 March 2011 two of his former clubs, Wolves and Tottenham, met in the Premier League. This fixture was designated as a tribute game, and as such featured several official and media tributes to Richards' career and life. Joining the teams in the centre circle at Molineux Stadium for a minute's applause before kick-off were his widow Samantha and his two sons Jayden (aged 11) and Rio (aged 7); as well as representatives from his four former clubs (Ledley King for Tottenham, Claus Lundekvam for Southampton, Matt Murray for Wolves, and Mark Lawn for Bradford City); two of his former managers Graham Taylor and Dave Jones; and two former teammates, Don Goodman and James Beattie.[15]


  1. ^ Parker, Simon (2011-02-26). "Bradford City pay tribute to Dean Richards". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  2. ^ "Dean Richards". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "Former England Under-21s defender passes away aged 36". The Football Association. 26 February 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "Richards in crash scare". The Mirror. 1 February 1996. 
  5. ^ "Dean in demand". The Mirror. 12 March 1996. 
  6. ^ "Wolves' £2m lure for Dean". The Mirror. 28 January 1998. 
  7. ^ "Bradford City 1998–1999 results". Tony Brown. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  8. ^ "English Division One 1998–1999: Table". Tony Brown. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (2003). In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology. p. 570. ISBN 0-9534-4743-X. 
  10. ^ Macaskill, Sandy (26 February 2011). "Dean Richards dies, aged 36". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  11. ^ Paul Doyle and Tom Rostance (8 December 2004). "Who is the most expensive uncapped player?". London: Guardian Unlimited.,13854,1368447,00.html. Retrieved 20 January 2008. 
  12. ^ a b "Former Wolves and Spurs defender Dean Richards dies". BBC Sport. 26 February 2011. 
  13. ^ "Richards tribute at Wolves match". BBC News. 6 March 2011. 
  14. ^ "Dean Richards back in coaching capacity". Bradford City A.F.C.. 5 August 2007.,,10266~1084403,00.html. Retrieved 5 August 2007. 
  15. ^ "Clubs pay tribute to Dean Richards at Wolves-Spurs game". BBC Sport. 6 March 2011. 

External links

Preceded by
James Beattie
Southampton F.C. player of the season
Succeeded by
Wayne Bridge

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