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Former Wolves and Spurs defender Dean Richards dies

Dean Richards celebrates scoring for Tottenham against Manchester United in 2001
Richards celebrates scoring for Spurs in 2001

Dean Richards, the former Wolves, Southampton, Bradford and Tottenham defender, has died at the age of 36.

Richards passed away on Saturday morning after losing his long-term battle with illness.

During his spell at Spurs, Richards began to suffer from dizzy spells and headaches and he was forced to retire in 2005 after taking medical advice.

In 2007 Richards was made youth-team coach at Bradford City, his hometown club and where he started his career.

A statement on the Bantams' website read: "The club are truly devastated to hear of the death of former Bradford City fans' favourite Dean Richards."

Richards' biggest transfer was his £8.1m move from Saints to Spurs in 2001 but he was to make only 73 league appearances in his four years with the north Londoners.

At that time Richards was diagnosed with an inner ear infection and also underwent a scan for a brain tumour but the results of the scan proved negative.

He was, however, advised it would be harmful to his health to continue playing and hung up his boots in March 2005.

He said at the time: "I am obviously deeply disappointed to be giving up the sport I love, but it's the only choice."

Richards beats Joe Cole to a header in 2001
Richards was noted for his aerial prowess

Richards began his career at Bradford, before joining Wolves, where he became a firm favourite.

The Black Country club said in statement on Saturday: "Everyone at Wolves is saddened to hear of the death of Dean Richards.

"Remembered for his trademark skilful breaks out of defence as well as his ability in the air, Richards will always be fondly remembered by Wolves fans who continued to follow his career closely when he moved on to Southampton and Tottenham.

"There will be a tribute paid to the defender ahead of next Sunday's game with his former club Spurs."

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy said following his side's 4-0 win over Blackpool: "I can't tell you how sad I feel for him and his family - 36 years of age. It is just devastating for them.

"He was a nice fella, and he is well remembered here because he scored a goal against West Bromwich Albion, so he will always be fondly remembered.

"I didn't know him, but he has played against my teams and he was a very good footballer."

Opposite number Ian Holloway added: "Dean lived a couple of doors down for me when I lived in St Albans. He was a wonderful fella, my love goes out to his family."

After four years at Molineux, Richards moved to then-Premiership side Southampton, who were managed by current Cardiff boss Dave Jones.

Richards also impressed under Jones's successor Glenn Hoddle, who took the centre-back with him to White Hart Lane in 2001. The fee was the highest for a player with no senior international caps.

But Richards, who played for England's Under-21s on four occasions, was unable to overcome injuries and illness and his career was cut short at the age of 31.

Tottenham said in a statement: "Everyone at Tottenham Hotspur was saddened to hear of the death of our former player Dean Richards.

"We extend our sincere condolences to the family of Dean Richards at this very sad time."

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see also
Richards rejoins Bantams as coach
05 Aug 07 |  Bradford
Illness forces Richards to retire
21 Mar 05 |  Tottenham
Richards eyes Premiership switch
07 Jan 05 |  Celtic
Hoddle unlikely to sign Richards
10 Dec 04 |  Wolves
Richards gets good news over scan
17 Nov 04 |  Tottenham
Richards to fight for place
29 Sep 04 |  Tottenham
Richards ready to return
21 Apr 04 |  Tottenham
Richards joins Spurs
21 Sep 01 |  Tottenham Hotspur

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