On this day: Dean Richards completes Southampton move

Back on this day in 1999, centre-back Dean Richards completes his move from Wolverhampton Wanderers to Southampton.

As far as his football career was concerned, the late Dean Richards never had much luck.

He rose through the ranks of his hometown club Bradford City, where his performances earned him a move to Division One outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers.

It was at Molineux where the centre-back started to realise his potential, so much so that the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal were said to have taken note. However, at the same time, injuries, which would limit his availability for lengthy spells, started to take hold.

Nevertheless, when his contract with Wolves expired in the summer of 1999, it opened up the chance for 25-year-old Richards to make the leap to the Premier League. It was Southampton that eventually won the race for his signature, with the switch being completed 15 years ago today.

He would instantly become a key member of the starting lineup on the South Coast and the impact that he made was so big that the supporters voted him their Player of the Season.

Performances of a similar ilk continued during the following campaign, which in turn convinced Tottenham Hotspur to part with £8.1m to take him to White Hart Lane in 2001.

Almost immediately, though, the injuries returned, which meant that he struggled to nail down a regular place and in 2005 he retired because of ill health. Upon hanging up his boots, he said: "I am obviously deeply disappointed to be giving up the sport I love, but it's the only choice."

As the years went by, news of Richards's deteriorating health was released. It was in February 2011 that his family confirmed that he had passed away at St Gemma's Hospice in Leeds.

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