Barry Richardson joined City from Preston North End in 1995, and went on to make 130 memorable appearances for City. His aggression and willingness to lay his body on the line for the cause typified the John Beck era perfectly.
Born in Wallsend in 1969, Barry stood 6ft 1” as a grown man and cut an imposing figure as a goalkeeper plying his trade in the North East, firstly with Sunderland and then with Seaham Red Star on loan.
He began to make his name after a move to Scarborough where he managed 30 appearances before a brief spell at Stockport County. From there he headed south to Northampton Town where he began to build up his reputation as an aggressive goalkeeper and a controversial figure.
At Northampton the fans turned a little on the keeper after a couple of keeping errors, and he earned the nickname ‘Coco’ as in ‘Coco the Clown’.
After 96 incident filled games for The Cobblers he began his 5 year stint at Sincil Bank. It is with us he spent the largest chunk of his playing career, and confirmed his reputation as the controversial figure he was.
Memories of Bazza at The Bank vary. Many remember his role in the infamous ‘Battle of Moss Rose’ in which Jason Barnett managed to stamp on The Silkmens Ben Sedgemore. Richardson was an active participant in the fighting, never afraid to lay his body on the line for his teammates.
Others however will remember his long flowing hair and wicked sense of humour. A 1996 cup tie against Man City saw the away fans singing ‘Where’s your caravan’ in a thinly veiled attack at the keepers long hair. He turned around to them on several occasions and pointed to the south common indicating it was there.
In his time at City Bazza always showed himself to be a strong character, but also a fully competent goalkeeper. However by 1999 his Imps time was drawing to and end and he spent time out on loan at near neighbours Mansfield Town and latterly Sheffield Wednesday. His eventual departure in 2001 left many Imps fan with a heavy heart.
Following his Imps spell he signed for Doncaster Rovers, twice and had a short time at Gainsborough Trinity and Halifax Town. He ended his playing career at arguably his most illustrious club, Nottingham Forest.
As recently as January 2008 Richardson had the role of back up goalkeeper at Forest having been allocated the no.38 shirt for the 2007/08 season and no.39 in 2008/2009. His official role was goalkeeping coach, but nonetheless he did have a playing contract.
However like Imps management hopeful John Pemberton, Richardson left the club once Billy Davies took over. Ironically his last appearance as a substitute goalkeeper was in the 3-0 FA Cup win over Man City in January 2009 – the same game in which John Pemberton took the role of manager.
He joined Cheltenham Town as goalkeeping coach at the start of the 2009-2010 linking up with former Imps team mate John Schofield in the back room area at Whaddon Road.
Of course he will now be remembered as an interesting footnote in history – along with Ian Pearce they became the first pair of substitutes from opposition teams to be shown the red card without entering the field of play. Seems fitting for Richardson somehow.
Here’s to an Imps legend, irrespective of his role in Saturday’s debacle.