Anthony Willis Richards was born on the 6th March 1934 in Birmingham.
Richards joined Birmingham City as an apprentice in 1951 and played numerous youth team matches for the Blues. During this time Richards joined the army and left in 1954 just prior to his move to Walsall.
At the age of 20, in 1954 Richards joined Walsall. His first two seasons were fruitful but unspectacular under the stewardship of Frank Buckley and John Lowe.
Richards finally came to the forefront in the 1957-58 season under the stewardship of Bill Moore, Richards scored 20 goals that season as Walsall finished 20th and became members of the new fourth Division.
The following season Richards score 28 goals to help Walsall finish in 6th place and just shy of promotion.
In 1959-60 Richards scored a further 26 goals to fire Walsall into the third division.
The step up to the third division would have deterred a few but not Tony Richards as he broke all records that season, scoring 36 goals and topping the charts for the division. His goals alone sent Walsall to consecutive promotions to the second division.
In the 1962-63 season the second division proved too much for the mighty Saddlers and they succombed to relegation, Richards failed to top the goalscoring charts that season and Port Vale signed him in the summer of 1963 for £9,000.
He is a Walsall legend!
In his first 14 games for Vale he scored an incredible 13 goals and proved himself to the supporters just like he had at Walsall. Injury forced Richards out for the remainder of that season and its incredible to think he remained at the top of the Port Vale charts having only played three months of football.
In 1964 and 1965 Richards started to accumulate injuries and never reached the standards from his Walsall days. He was released from Port Vale in 1966 and played a couple more years at Nuneaton and Dudley Town before hanging up his boots in 1967.
Prior to his death Tony Richards was given Honorary Life President of Walsall FC for his service to the club.
On 4th March 2010 Tony Richards passed away aged 75. We held a minutes silence for him before our home game with Millwall that year.
Honours With Walsall FC
1959/60 – 4th Division Champion
1960/61 – 3rd Division Runner Up
In 334 appearances for Walsall, Richards scored 185 goals.
A truly remarkable record.
Greatest Player in Our 125th Years?…Most definitely.