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Stars mourn at footballer's funeral

Premier League stars joined hundreds of mourners at the funeral of former Wolves, Tottenham and Bradford defender Dean Richards.

Richards, who was forced to retire from the game in 2005 following illness, died last weekend 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 £8.1 million 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.

Kamara said: "Deano was a giant. 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."

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."

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


From Belfast Telegraph