Top football stars say farewell to ‘Deano’

Dean Richards Memorial Service at Bradford Cathedral . The coffin is carried into the Cathedral.
Dean Richards Memorial Service at Bradford Cathedral . The coffin is carried into the Cathedral.
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Premier League stars joined hundreds of mourners at the funeral in Yorkshire of former Wolves and Tottenham defender Dean Richards.

The player, who was forced to retire from the game in 2005 following illness, died last weekend aged 36.

Yesterday Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane and on-loan Blackpool forward James Beattie joined friends, family and former colleagues for the funeral at Bradford Cathedral in Richards’s home city.

Wolves veteran Steve Bull and former Bradford City manager Chris Kamara also attended.

The former central defender is fondly remembered at Wolves, where he moved after impressing with Bradford. He went on to play for Southampton and Spurs, who paid £8.1m for his services.

Former Bradford manager Chris Kamara said: “Deano was a giant. He played with elegance and composure and was a joy to watch. He was a star player with a Rolls-Royce engine. In the football community we’re all stunned. He was someone who brought joy to everyone and, if you knew him, played with him or worked with him, you knew what a character he was.”

Richards was forced to retire from the game after suffering from dizzy spells and headaches – an illness which was initially diagnosed as an inner ear infection.

Bradford City joint-chairman Mark Lawn said: “He was a nice guy and very down-to-earth. Players now would be a lot better men if they took a leaf out of his book.

“I first knew him as a fan. When he got the ball there was an intake of breath because you knew he’d create something. He came back in 2007 to coach the youth players, but I don’t think we paid him. That was a mark of the man – he just wanted to give something back.”