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A-Z of West Midlands Football

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: February 04, 2014

By Tony Matthews

  • Dean Richards in Old Gold back in the 1990s

  • Dick Richards

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CARL RICHARDS scored twice in 19 outings for Birmingham City whom he served from October 1988 until July 1989. A striker, born in St Mary's Jamaica in 1960, he was an amateur with Dulwich Hamlet and Enfield before joining AFC Bournemouth in 1986.

Blues then paid £70,000 for his services and when he left St Andrew's for Peterborough United, the fee was £37,500.

Later with Blackpool, Carl returned to Enfield before having a spell with Bromley. He won the Gola league title with Enfield in 1986, the Third Division Championship with Bournemouth in 1987 and also represented England at semi-professional level.

DAI RICHARDS scored five goals in 229 appearances for Wolves between August 1927 and November 1935 and netted twice in 66 outings for Birmingham from March 1937 to August 1939 before having a brief three-game spell with Walsall ahead of World War Two.

Born in Abercanaid, South Wales in October 1906, Dai was a talented left-half, purposeful and clever, who joined Wolves from Merthyr Town. He went on to win 21 caps for his country and helped the Wanderers clinch the Second Division title in 1932.

He continued playing after World War Two with Sedgley and lived in and worked locally until his death in a Birmingham hospital in October 1969.

DEAN RICHARDS was described as being a 'classy defender' when he joined Wolves on loan from Bradford City in March 1995. He made such an impact at Molineux that within a matter of two months he had been signed for £1.8 million. Wolves paid £1.3m immediately with the other £500,000 following in November 1998.

Born in Bradford in June 1974, Dean signed as a professional at Valley Parade in 1992 and made over 100 appearances for the Bantams before joining Wolves. Capped four times by England at U21 level, he went on to score six goals in 134 outings for the Wanderers, although he did injure his knee in a car crash in 1997 which set him back for quite a while.

Determined to play at a higher level, Dean moved to Southampton on a free transfer in July 1999 and in July 2001 switched to Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £8.1 million (where did Wolves go wrong?) He made his debut for Spurs in a thrilling 5-3 encounter with Manchester United.

Dean retired from playing in 2005 due to health concerns, but later returned to the game as a coach at Bradford, as well as working briefly in Spain. Sadly, he died after a long-term illness, in St Gemma's hospital, Leeds in February 2011, aged just 36.

DICK RICHARDS scored 26 goals in 94 League and Cup appearances for Wolves either side of World War One.

Born in February 1890 in Chirk, a one-time hotbed of Welsh football, he played for Bronygarth FC, Chirk and Oswestry United, and after unsuccessful trials with Everton and Wrexham, joined Wolves in 1913.

He missed the 1921 FA Cup final and after failing to hold down a first team place, was transferred to West Ham United in June 1922.

A year later he played in the first-ever Wembley Cup final when the Hammers were beaten 2-0 by Bolton Wanderers.

From Upton Park, Dick switched across London to Fulham (1924) and after spells nearer home with Mold FC and Colwyn Bay United, he retired in 1928 with a serious back injury, sustained when unloading electric light pylons! The injury in fact played a big part in his death, which occurred in a Salford hospital in January 1934, at the age of 43.

FRANK RICHARDS worked in Hockley's jewellery quarter before joining the office staff at St Andrew's in 1906.

Working steadily up the ladder he became Birmingham's secretary, rising to secretary-manager in 1915. He held that position for nine years before reverting back as club secretary only to take over the manager's job again from August 1927 to July 1928.

He was later engaged as secretary-manager of Bournemouth FC (1928-30). Amazingly in June 1920, Richards failed to submit the entry form allowing Birmingham to take part in the forthcoming season's FA Cup competition. He sent his young son, Sam, on a train to London to ask the FA for clemency, alas without success. Sam later served on the club's Board of Directors for a number of years. Father Frank was born in Birmingham in 1880 and died in a city hospital in 1963.

GEOFF RICHARDS is one of West Bromwich Albion's oldest former players. He is now nearing his 85th birthday and lives in Penn near Wolverhampton.

An outside-right, born in Bilston in 1929, he was registered with the Baggies from October 1943 until July 1952 when he joined Stafford Rangers. Owing to the presence and form of a certain Billy Elliott, Geoff made only three first-team appearances for Albion, but he did score on his league debut against Luton Town in December 1946.

Later with Bilston Town and Hednesford Town (two spells), he went on to serve in various capacities with Birchen Coppice, Nuneaton Borough, Atherstone Town and GKN Sankey.

JOHN RICHARDS netted twice in 20 League and Cup games for Albion between December 1895 and July 1896.

Born in Martley Hollow, Worcestershire, in November 1873, he played as a forward for Broadheath Rangers and was serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Coldstream Guards when Albion bought him out of the Army for £18. Leaving the Baggies, he signed for Loughborough and after assisting Shepshed Albion he retired in 1906 and went to coach in France, later taking up similar positions in North America and Canada. It is believed that John died in Canada in December 1934.

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