Former Wolves and Tottenham defender Dean Richards has died, aged just 36, after losing a long battle with illness.
A record 29,000 crowd at the newly-developed Molineux stadium chanted his name in memory of a club hero as Wolves beat Blackpool 4-0.
Midway through the first half, and then again just before the final whistle, Richards was hailed by the Wolves fans.
And most poignant was the spontaneous applause that broke out as Richards’s
name echoed from stand to stand.
Richards played almost 350 league games for his native Bradford, Wolves,
Southampton and Spurs.
His biggest transfer was his £8.1 million move from Saints to Spurs in 2001 but he made only 73 league appearances for Tottenham before having to retire in 2005 after
complaining of dizzy spells and headaches.
The problem was initially diagnosed as an ear infection. He underwent a scan
for a brain tumour but the results were negative.
Despite his illness, Richards returned to football in 2007 as Bradford’s youth team coach.
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy summed up the feelings of many at Molineux.
McCarthy said: ‘I can’t tell you how sad I feel for him and his family. He was only 36 and it is just devastating.’
Blackpool boss Ian Holloway added: ‘I lived a couple of doors down from him in St Albans. He was a wonderful man and my heart goes out to his family.’