It was sadly confirmed today that former Spurs defender Dean Richards had passed away after a long battle with serious illness. He was just 36-years-old.
Dean first sprung to prominence at Bradford City and Wolves before impressing for Glenn Hoddle’s free-flowing Southampton where he looked every inch a future England centre-half.
When Hoddle took over at Spurs he bought Richards for a significant £8.1 million fee, the highest at the time for an uncapped player, and the big defender marked his debut with a goal in that epic 3-5 encounter with Manchester United. Between 2001-2005, Dean made just 73 league appearances in Spurs colours scoring four times. He also featured in five FA Cup and three League Cup ties.
I’d like to recall one of Dean's best performances in a Spurs shirt where he marshalled the Tottenham backline superbly in a 1-0 win at Aston Villa. He punched the air at the final whistle before paying tribute to the celebrating Spurs away support.
Unfortunately, Dean's Tottenham career was blighted by injuries and illness before drawing to a premature close in 2005, but that’s how I’d like to remember him.
Sincere condolences to the Richards family and his loved ones. Next Sunday two of Dean’s former clubs Wolves and Spurs will meet at Molineux where a fitting tribute can be expected.