Dean Richards dies, aged 36

Former Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton and Wolves defender Dean Richards has died at the age of 36 after a long illness.

The centre-back made nearly 350 professional appearances before his premature retirement in 2005 because of dizzy spells and headaches.

He was initially diagnosed with an inner-ear infection, but scans cleared him of having a brain tumour.

Richards began his career with home-town club Bradford City before moving to Wolves in 1995.

He made 145 appearances in four years at Molineux before transferring to Southampton in 1999, moving again two years later in an 8.1 million pounds switch to Tottenham.

After his retirement as a player, Richards became the youth team coach at Bradford City.

Wolves paid tribute to Richards on Saturday, and said the former defender would be fondly remembered by all at Molineux.

“Everyone at Wolves was saddened to hear of the death of Dean Richards, who passed away this morning at the age of 36 after a long-term battle with serious illness,” said a statement on the club’s website.

“Wolves would like to take this opportunity to send their condolences to the former Molineux defender’s family and friends.”

“Remembered for his trademark skilful breaks out of defence as well as his ability in the air, Richards, who won four England-under-21 caps, will always be fondly remembered by Wolves fans who continued to follow his career closely when he moved on to Southampton and Tottenham.”