Kevin Richardson

Without Kevin Richardson, Michael Thomas would not have been able to score THAT goal.

It was Richardson, after all, who dispossessed John Barnes as the Liverpool winger went on a mazy stoppage-time run at Anfield on May 26, 1989. The Arsenal midfielder tapped the ball back to John Lukic, he bowled it out to Lee Dixon, he picked out centre forward Alan Smith, he clipped it inside for Thomas... and the rest is history.

What was most impressive about that Richardson intervention was the fact he was prostrate on the turf just moments earlier with what appeared to be cramp. Indeed, it was the injury time added on for his treatment which Thomas used so gloriously.

That dramatic title triumph was certainly the highlight of Richardson's Arsenal career, a stretch in North London which spanned three seasons and 122 appearances.

He arrived from Watford in the summer of 1987, having already won the League with Everton, and played in the Littlewoods Cup Final the following April as Arsenal surprisingly lost to Luton at Wembley.

Richardson's energy and tackling ability made him a perfect fit in George Graham's midfield and he filled in on the left when Graham Rix fell out of favour before stepping in for Paul Davis when suspension and injury restricted his appearances in the historic 1988/89 campaign.

Richardson scored a memorable goal against his former club Everton in January 1989 as Arsenal announced their title credentials with a 3-1 win and did enough that season to keep his place in midfield until April 1990.

With Davis back on the scene and David Hillier about to break through, Richardson was sold to Real Sociedad that summer. But he was soon back in England with Aston Villa - and added an England cap to those two championship medals.

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