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Notts Alumni: Ian Richardson


Born on October 22, 1970, in Barking, England, Ian Richardson was a former professional footballer and caretaker manager. 

He played as a midfielder or centre-half in 260 games in the Football League for Birmingham City and Notts County, where he spent most of his professional career.

Before embarking on his football career, Richardson worked as a meat-porter at Smithfield Market in London, where he learned to work hard and work well with others. 
He played football part-time, showcasing his skills with Dagenham & Redbridge in the Conference, which earned him a £60,000 move to Birmingham City in the 1995 close season.

Dagenham teammate Jason Broom described Richardson as "never the most gifted player in the world but was a ferocious tackler. He used to get from box to box and scored lots of goals mainly through his excellence in the air."

He made his Football League debut on 8 October 1995, as a substitute replacing Jonathan Hunt in a 2–0 win at home to Southend United. However, after just three months, he joined Notts County on loan. 

He returned to Birmingham and made three more first-team appearances, including in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final against Leeds United. B

Richardson went on to join Notts County on a permanent basis in March 1996 for a fee of £150,000.

In the 1997–98 season, Richardson was part of Sam Allardyce's Notts County team that won the Division Three title by a record margin and at a record early date. 

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A £350,000 move to Wimbledon fell through on a failed medical, which pleased County's manager Jocky Scott. 

With the club in financial difficulties, Richardson took a pay cut to remain at County because his family was settled in the area.

Richardson's contract expired at the end of the 2002–03 season, and the club was in administration and subject to a transfer embargo. 

It wasn't until August 2003 that the Football League gave them permission to offer Richardson monthly terms. 

The problems never influenced the players on the pitch – only during every other moment when they weren't playing. 

Despite his limited playing appearances in the 2004–05 season, Richardson was voted County's Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, and was selected as League Two's "Unsung Hero" in BBC Sport's alternative awards list.

In November 2004, Richardson was appointed caretaker player-manager after the departure of Gary Mills.

He said: "I'm delighted to have landed the job full-time. The effort and desire to improve has been fantastic from everyone at the club, and hopefully we can build on what we have already achieved".

Although his injured knee restricted him to a mostly managerial role, h4 successfully led the team away from relegation and to the Third Round of the FA Cup.

Richardson was replaced as manager by Gudjon Thordarson at the end of the season.

After his playing contract expired in June 2005, he was given a monthly contract to allow him time to prove his fitness. 

Despite playing in two reserve games, the club's view was "the knee has not made a sufficient recovery for the acquired level of professional football," and Richardson was released. 

The player took legal advice and consulted the Professional Footballers' Association. 
Still, after trials with Peterborough United and Burton Albion, he decided to retire as a player and accept the offer of a testimonial match and a coaching role with the club's Football in the Community programme.

In 2010, Richardson was working as Activity Manager for Notts County's Football in the Community programme. 

It won the League Two Best Community Initiative Award at the 2008 Football League Awards ceremony for a project designed to use football to approach the improvement of self-esteem and life skills of adult males with mental health issues.

Ian, continued the role for Notts County FC Football in the Community, where he decided to embark on a charity run that took him through the club's past and present homes. The run took place on the final home game of the 2013.14 season.

He said: "I love my job, helping people achieve things in life gives me a lot of joy. So many children have few opportunities, especially during this recession, so I’d like to help them get back into education or employment." Ian Richardson managed to raise almost £1,300 from his charity run.

Ian Richardson was an exceptional football player who exemplified unwavering loyalty, determination, and leadership skills. He always gave his best and showed immense dedication to his team's success. 

Ian's fighting spirit was an inspiration to his teammates, and his calm and collected approach to the game helped him make wise decisions and steer his team towards victory.

Ian's versatility as a player was another of his outstanding qualities. He could adapt to any situation and play different roles in the team, always demonstrating his exceptional talent and commitment to the game. 

Ian Richardson was a true asset to his team and will be remembered as a role model for future generations of football players.

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Ian Richardson is a truly remarkable figure in our history. We deeply appreciate everything he has done for the club. Throughout his time here, he has not only become a fan favourite but also elevated himself to the status of a true hero.

All his efforts on the pitch are very memorable to me, and I am thankful his deal to Wimbledon collapsed, as he served us for longer. Those days when the club seemed to be on his knees, I am grateful to have some like Ian in our clubs corner and his presence around the club for me is missed.

Thank you, Ian Richardson.

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Ian’s contribution beyond the pitch to Notts County’s Football in the Community programme showcased his commitment to the sport and his community. What I find commendable is not just his footballing skills but his ability to use his position to make a social impact. His charity run is definitely a testament to that.

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You don't find many players like Ian Richardson these days. It's quite refreshing to read about a player who showed so much dedication both on and off the pitch. He didn't just serve his team as a player and later as a manager, but also as a mentor and role model for many.

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Truly, Ian left no stone unturned in his tenure at Notts County. Be it tackling opponents or tackling social issues, he put in his best. Enjoyed reading this, it's a stark reminder of the heroes in football that transcend the boundaries of the pitch.

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Ian Richardson is one of a kind; you wouldn’t find many footballers doing what he has done. His efforts towards collecting donations to help keep Notts alive are something that many fans underappreciate. He did it for the club and its fans, which is commendable. While some might say he wasn’t the best player, he always ensured that Notts had a presence on the pitch and worked hard. I would rather have him than one of those flashy players who simply don’t get it.

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Ian Richardson, a name that will forever be etched in the memory of Notts County's history. Despite the financial troubles at the club, he stuck around when he could have easily moved on because of his settled family. This shows loyalty and dedication of a mere sporting icon towards the club and fans.

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Ian Richardson is a true gentleman. He devoted a lot of his time to the club and its fans. His leadership skills on the pitch were unparalleled. His relationship with the 1998 squad and Sam Allardyce played a significant role in Notts’ push for that record-breaking season. I cannot praise Ian enough for his efforts. As far as I know, everyone loved him, and that’s how it should be. It would be wonderful to see him back at the Lane one day. I remember his uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time. His passion for our club seemed immense and personal.

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He seems like an incredible representative of our club and someone who played with passion. I’m sure it takes a special individual to do all that he did for Notts. He may have done it all without hesitation, and some of it may have gone unnoticed, but stories like this change that. What I take away from reading about this alumnus is a sense of gratitude for those former players who go above and beyond to preserve our history. I hope we honour his legacy in the same way.

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Football has indeed come a long way since the likes of Ian Richardson paved the way for younger players. His football skills and his off-pitch contributions prove that sport is not just about competition but also about community and personal growth. Great article!

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Mike Edwards gets a lot of love, but Ian Richardson is 5x more Notts County than him. He would walk over piping hot coals just to make sure that Notts were safe. He’s one in a million and such a very dedicated person.

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The word legend is often mentioned with regards to footballers but in my opinion Ian Richardson epitomises the word legend, he’s was a great servant to the club including during some of our darkest times, like @NottsLoyal say I can remember him collecting donations along with his wife outside supermarkets to try and keep Notts alive.

I too would live to see him return to Notts in some capacity, he deserves all the accolades that come his way on here and elsewhere.

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Richo is a true Notts legend. He’s a wonderful person who always thinks of others before himself. He remains one of my all-time favourite Notts players. He was a rock for the club, standing by us during some of our toughest times, doing everything in his power to help the club while also giving his all on the pitch. A true Notts hero.

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Ian Richardson - "Richo" is and always will be a hero to this club. His playing days are legendary as it is, very loyal and determined. He's someone the club should look to get back, having ex players involved gives the club it's identity. They couldn't go wrong choosing to hire him.

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