Funeral For Former Saints Player

4 March 2011, 09:46 | Updated: 9 March 2011, 17:48

Premier League stars joined hundreds of mourners at the funeral of former Southampton, Wolves and Tottenham defender Dean Richards on Friday 4th March.

Richards, who was forced to retire from the game in 2005 following illness, died in February aged 36.

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, Richards' home city in West Yorkshire.

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

The former central defender is fondly remembered at Wolves, where he moved after impressing with Bradford.

He went on to play for Southampton and Tottenham, who paid £8.1million for his services.

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.

Former colleagues and friends paid tribute to Richards.

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. You can't get your head round it. 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.''

Mark Lawn, Bradford City joint-chairman, 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.''

Wolves fans chanted Richards' name during their home match against Blackpool last Saturday following the announcement of his death.

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

Richards spent four years in north London although his time there was dogged by injury.

He made almost 350 appearances in a career spanning 13 years before his retirement.