Richard is widely known and hugely respected across the football world in many capacities.
A current match official, he served as a referee in the West Midlands Regional League and assistant referee in the Midland Football League. Highly regarded for his approach to officiating, he would demonstrate his clear understanding the game and always preferred to communicate with players and management teams to control the game.
Off the field, he would also provide invaluable assistance to a large number of clubs with their match arrangements, helping us to organise officials for youth and academy fixtures.
This understanding of the game also meant that he developed into an excellent coach. He provided excellent advice and support to numerous players in his years working with the Goalkeeper Development Scheme, as well as serving a number of clubs before moving on to manage Birmingham County FA's title winning Under 16 representative squad, where he was assisted by our own Rob Clarke.
Richard moved on from this role to concentrate on his refereeing and new professional career, which took him to work for MacronStore West Midlands. His vast network of contacts and the universal respect he commanded in local football meant that he became an invaluable member of their sales team and played a key role in their growth and increased presence across the Midlands area. His understanding of the workings of grassroots clubs and his willingness to go the extra mile set him apart from others.
Richard and 'Statto' were reunited in partnership, working together at Macron's Bromsgrove store. Richard was still the club's account manager and he has provided fantastic support to the club to enable us to kit out all of our teams. This is never an easy process and we are hugely grateful for his support and professionalism throughout.
His passion was 'Baggie Bird', wearing West Bromwich Albion's away kit mascot costume on Hawthorns matchdays for over 20 years. It was a dream role, taking him to the inside of his boyhood club and allowing him to fully express the fun-loving side of his personality, while bringing such enjoyment to supporters, particularly Junior Baggies.
The tragic news of his passing passing on the morning of Boxing Day was met with shock and sadness across football, with Gary Lineker leading the tributes on that night's Match of the Day.
Rob Clarke commented "Rich was a good guy and a great character. I really enjoyed working with him at BCFA and at Macron and we spoke most days, whether on Boldmere kit business or just our continued friendship. I found out at the Hawthorns on Boxing Day and was knocked for six. I still can't get my head round it".
"My phone went crazy with so many people expressing their sadness and offering their condolences, including across our junior teams, friends from other clubs and many of the lads who'd played for the County. It just demonstrates the universal high regard in which he was held."
"The outpouring of support and lovely messages from all quarters has been amazing. He was fiercely proud of his family and absolutely doted on his two young kids. Hopefully this will provide some source of comfort to them at this heartbreaking time".
Boldmere St Michaels Football Club and grassroots football in general has lost a true friend. He will be sorely missed by so many. The club will observe their respects before the home game against Loughborough University.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.