Dick Richards

Dick Richards : West Ham United

Richard (Dick) Richards was born in Weston Point, Runcorn on 14th January 1892. His father had been tragically drowned in the dock on the Weaver Navigation before he was born. The family later moved to Glyn Ceiriog.

Richards played non-league football for Chirk and Oswestry United in the Welsh League before joining Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1913.

Richards' career was interrupted by the First World War. However, he became a regular scorer for his club on the resumption of the Football League and in 1920 won his first international cap for Wales.

Richards, an outside-left, scored 22 goals in 88 games for Wolves before being signed by Syd King, the manager of West Ham United for a fee of £300 in 1922. Richards joined a team that included Billy Moore, Jimmy Ruffell, George Kay, Edward Hufton, Jack Tresadern, Vic Watson, Sid Bishop, William Thirlaway, Billy Brown, Dick Richards, Jack Young and Billy Henderson.

Syd King already had a great outside-left in Jimmy Ruffell and so he asked Richards to play on the opposite wing. West Ham United enjoyed a good FA Cup run in the 1922-23 season beating Hull City (3-2), Brighton & Hove Albion (1-0), Plymouth Argyle (2-0), Southampton (1-0) and Derby County (5-2) to reach the final against Bolton Wanderers. The final took place at Wembley Stadium, only four days after the stadium had been completed.

The stadium had a capacity of 125,000 and so the Football Association did not consider making it an all-ticket match. After all, both teams only had an average attendance of around 20,000 for league games. However, it was rare for a club from London to make the final of the FA Cup and supporters of other clubs in the city saw it as a North v South game. It is estimated that 300,000 people attempted to get into the ground. Over a thousand people were injured getting in and out of the stadium. When the game eventually got started, Joe Smith and David Jack scored in Bolton's 2-0 victory over West Ham United.

In their next game West Ham United beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 to ensure promotion to the First Division. Vic Watson was top scorer with 22 goals and Billy Moore added 15 more. Richards had contributed 5 in 34 games.

Richards only played in 9 league games in the 1923-24 season before moving to Fulham. Richards was also a member of the Welsh team that won the Home Championship in 1924. At the end of the season Richards returned to Wales to play for Mold Town and Colwyn Bay United. He retired from football in 1928.

Dick Richards died in Salford Royal Infirmary following an accident while working for a electricity company at the age of 43 on 27th January, 1934.

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