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Feb 26, 2011

Ex-Wolves defender Richards dies

Former Wolves and Tottenham defender Dean Richards has died at the age of 36.

Wolves confirmed on their website that Richards had passed away on Saturday morning after a long battle with illness.

Wanderers boss Mick McCarthy led the tributes to Richards, while Wanderers fans chanted his name as their side paid a fitting tribute to their former player with a 4-0 win over Blackpool.

McCarthy said: "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 the Albion (West Brom), 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.

"Anybody who dies at that age - and I believe he has two kids and a wife - it's devastating, so my sincere condolences to his family and close circle of friends who will be feeling it today.''

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.''

Richards moved from hometown club Bradford to Wolves in 1995, making 145 appearances in a four-year spell and becoming a crowd favourite.

He subsequently moved on to Southampton, who were then in the top flight, where he spent two years before switching to White Hart Lane for £8.1million, despite the player not having earned any senior international caps for England.

Richards, who played four times at under-21 level, spent four years in north London although his time there was dogged by injury. He retired in 2005 after suffering dizzy spells and headaches.

He made almost 350 appearances in a career spanning 13 years before his retirement, before returning to the game in August 2007 as a youth team coach at Bradford.

A statement on the Tottenham website read: "Everyone at Tottenham Hotspur was saddened to hear of the death of our former player Dean Richards, who passed away this morning at the age of 36 after a long-term battle with serious illness.''

It continued: "There will be a tribute paid to the defender ahead of our fixture next Sunday at Molineux against his former club Wolves. We extend our sincere condolences to the family of Dean Richards at this very sad time.''

A statement from Bradford's said the club were "truly devastated'' by the news, while Saints described him as "a whole-hearted and popular player with fans and colleagues alike''.

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