Golden Memories | Kevin Richardson
Kevin Richardson came through at Everton as a schoolboy, before moving to Watford – albeit briefly – and ahead of this weekend’s match between the two clubs recalls that time of his career with a warmth of feeling.
Habitually modest, Kevin hails from the North East, and now works for Newcastle United’s Academy, passing on his experience to help develop the players of the future.
The memory that stands out for him most is the 1984 FA Cup Final, which will be remembered more fondly by this weekend’s visitors, but Kevin doesn’t think that should be the case.
“When you look back on that day you have to look at what the players achieved at Watford and they deserve massive credit for getting the club to a Cup Final and giving the fans a great day out.
“You look at two teams that at that given time were developing and up-and-coming. It was a great occasion for both clubs, with what Howard Kendall was doing at Everton and Graham Taylor was doing at Watford,” he said.
“Graham was trying to build the club, improving things, and the structure within the club was getting better and better. He had great backing from the Chairman – Elton John – and slowly but surely Graham put the foundations in the club to be where they are now.
“But on the day both teams had a really good go at each other, until one team got a goal and then the mentality changes, and the second goal was debateable…but in that period of time, Everton were very successful. They were perhaps slightly more advanced than Watford, but either team could have won.”
“It was a great achievement for Watford to get to the final and it was a good game while it was 0-0! If Watford had scored early it could have been a whole different game. Maybe Everton had just a bit too much on the day.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Kevin would have gotten a frosty reception when he then joined the Hornets two years later, but he soon learnt just why Watford is known as a family club.
“The people behind the scenes, the chairman, the manager and the players were all just like normal people and I had a really good time there.
“Credit to them because when I joined them I made some good friends, who I’m still friends with to this day.
“I learnt what a nice group of lads they were – honest, endeavoured, fully committed, professional, and they were a great credit to the club at that period of time.
“There were some good players I was lucky enough to play with; but especially John Barnes, Luther Blissett, John McClelland, Wilf Rostron, Kenny Jackett, Gibbo, Tony Coton…you know, the list goes on.”
And now, too many years than he cares to remember after those happy days, Kevin is back in the North East trying to give something back.
He said: “I played with and against a lot of good players, and you end up picking up a lot of little bits and pieces. I was a young kid at the time and I trained every day with experienced international players, and you would watch them and learn from them, and that probably made me a better player and a better person.
“I’m at the Newcastle Academy now working with the Under-17s and 18s. I’ve been there for a few years and I’m just trying to pass on my knowledge and experience to these young lads and hopefully they gain a future from the game. I’ll do what I can for them because I know what’s in front of them if they really, really want it.”
“Unfortunately, I’ll be at work on Saturday, but I hope it will be a good game and there’s a lot of memories for our supporters to look back on and enjoy…and some they might not enjoy!
“But back then, with the atmosphere at Wembley, well, it was a great day for Watford and Everton, and I think it was the fans helped to make that such a great occasion.”
You can read Kevin’s Dream Team – his combined best eleven of the Watford and Everton players he lined-up alongside – in this Saturday’s edition of The Hornet.