Robbie and Claudine Keane pay final respects to footballer Dean Richards at emotional funeral service

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    By
    Daily Mail Reporter
    Last updated at 2:44 PM on 4th March 2011

    Robbie and Claudine Keane led the tributes to former Tottenham Hotspurs footballer Dean Richards today at the funeral of the sportsman, who died last weekend aged 36.

    Keane, who played alongside Richards at West Midlands Club the Wolves, looked sombre and deep in thought as he arrived at the service at Bradford Cathedral for the service.

    The funeral was also attended by footballers including former Southampton teammate James Beattie and Wolves manager Mick McCarthy, while Richards’ son Rio, who cuddled a teddy bear close to his chest, was comforted by his mother Samantha.

    Paying their respects: Robbie and Claudine Keane were among those paying tribute to footballer Dean Richards at the sportsman's funeral at Bradford Cathedral today

    Paying their respects: Robbie and Claudine Keane were among those paying tribute to footballer Dean Richards at the sportsman’s funeral at Bradford Cathedral today

    Richards was forced to retire from the
    game at the age of 30, in 2005, when he was suffering from dizzy spells
    and headaches – an illness which was initially diagnosed as an inner ear
    infection.

    He underwent a scan for a brain tumour but the results were negative, but doctors advised him to stay away from the game for the sake of his health.

    He made almost 350 appearances in a
    career spanning 13 years before his retirement and returned to the game
    in August 2007 as a youth-team coach at Bradford.

    After playing with the Wolves, Richards went on to play for Southampton and Tottenham, who paid £8.1million for his services.

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


    Final journey: Richards' coffin is carried for his funeral at Bradford Cathedral, Bradford

    Final journey: Richards’ coffin is carried for his funeral at Bradford Cathedral, Bradford

    Sad day: Richards’ son Rio is comforted by his mother Samantha while ex-Southampton team-mate James Beattie (right centre) arrives at Bradford Cathedral


    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.



    Bradford
    said the club were ‘truly devastated’ by his death, while Saints
    described him as ‘a whole-hearted and popular player with fans and
    colleagues alike’.

    Emotional: A family tribute to the sportsman on flowers outside the cathedral

    Emotional: A family tribute to the sportsman on flowers outside the cathedral

    Before his time: Richards died last weekend at the age of 36 after losing his battle against illness

    Wolves manager McCarthy said last weekend: ‘I can’t imagine what it’s like to
    have that happen to his family. It is devastating news and a terrible
    tragedy.

    ‘I can’t tell you how sorry I feel for them because 36 is no age
    and they are the people who will be really hurting.’

    And former Spurs teammate Jamie Redknapp said: ‘I shared a room with him on occasions when we played for Tottenham together and he was a lovely man, a warm and gentle giant who was good company.

    ‘He will be fondly remembered by both clubs when Spurs and Wolves play at Molineux next week. Farewell, Big Man, it was good to know you.’

    Spurs said everyone at the club was saddened to hear of Richards’
    death, and they and Wolves intend to pay a further tribute to Richards
    when they meet in the Premier League on Sunday.

     

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    Robbie and Claudine Keane pay final respects to footballer Dean Richards at emotional funeral service