Bryan Richardson

Neville Hadsley gets beneath the mask of Coventry City chairman and Gordon Strachan advocate Bryan Richardson

Distinguishing features Lived-in face that does not appear have deprived itself of too much.

Habitat Publishing, although he has not “bankrolled the club” as some have mistakenly suggested. Richardson is not a wealthy man by Premiership standards but he does know a lot of people who are and he has successfully corralled them on to the board – the most notorious being scandal-prone Coventry MP Geoffrey Robinson who is rumoured to own Noel Whelan's right leg outright and possibly more.

What use is he? Richardson has transformed an accident-prone club which could not see as far ahead as the next home game. He has got a decent side with potential for betterment and a new stadium under construction when other clubs ­– Leicester, Southampton – have struggled. Some of his transfer activity borders on the Arthur Daly – Villa and Leeds still maintain to this day that it was Richardson who contacted them about the availability of George Boateng and Darren Huckerby respectively even though he still hotly denies this.

Who remembers his birthday? Certainly not Doug Ellis, with whom Richardson is having a bitter feud. It was bubbling nicely even before the theft of Dion Dublin, but the fact that Ellis chose to rub salt in the wound so publicly – and Villa  manager John Gregory joined in – after the Dublin transfer was complete has caused Richardson to respond at every opportunity. Thus Boateng was sold to Villa at a vastly inflated price.  And then there's Robbie Keane. As Villa had irritated them with petty haggling Wolves were only too willing to sell him to Coventry. When Keane scored the winner at home to Villa, Richardson could hardly contain his glee.

Quote/Unquote “Football is suffering from financial diarrhoea… vast amounts of money comes in at the top and goes straight through to the players.” Uttered during particularly acrimonious contract negotiations with Dion Dublin.

Other offences to be taken in to consideration
His loyalty to Gordon Strachan is legendary. He has said many times that he would not sack the Wee Man even if we went down. Gordon is always favourite for the chop at the start of the season but, hell, what do bookies know?

From WSC 158 April 2000. What was happening this month