Kevin Richardson

Premier League Career: Aston Villa (1992-1994), Coventry City (1995-1997), Southampton (1997-1998)

Kevin Richardson was one of the unsung heroes of many high-profile clubs. He won the FA Cup with Everton in 1984, the league with the Toffees in 1985 and also with Arsenal in 1989. In 1994, he was a big part of the Aston Villa team that defeated Manchester United to win the League Cup final.

Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he turned professional in 1980 and spent six seasons at Goodison Park. A versatile midfielder, Richardson moved to Watford in 1986 – the team Everton had defeated at Wembley in the FA Cup final two seasons earlier. He only experienced one campaign at Vicarage Road as Arsenal paid £200,000 for his services in 1987. He operated on the left-wing for the Gunners and played all 90 minutes in their dramatic title-winning success at Anfield in 1989. Despite featuring nearly 100 times for Arsenal, he never enjoyed the greatest relationship with manager George Graham and he moved to Spain in 1990 to play for Real Sociedad.

After one season in Spain, Richardson returned to English shores, signing for Ron Atkinson at Aston Villa. His leadership and knowhow was crucial to an exciting Villa side that seriously challenged Manchester United for title honours in the very first Premier League season. He was skipper that season but Villa faded in the run-in to ultimately finish 10 points behind the Red Devils. The Villans got their revenge in March 1994, defeating them 3-1 in the League Cup final. It would turn out to be Kevin’s final major honour as a player and he won Man of the Match honours with his commanding display in the middle of the park that afternoon.

It was whilst he was at Aston Villa when he won his solitary England cap which arrived in a 5-0 friendly victory over Greece in May 1994. When Atkinson was sacked by Doug Ellis at Villa and eventually turned up at Midlands rivals Coventry City – his first signing was to bring his former captain to Highfield Road. Richardson spent the next two seasons helping the Sky Blues avoid relegation. One further Premier League season followed at Southampton before ending his career with stints at Barnsley and Blackpool. He retired in 2000.

He has been a coach ever since, having spells as an assistant manager at Stockport County and Darlington. Since 2009, Kevin has been an Under-18 coach at Newcastle United.

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