U's raise funds with Richards sale
COLCHESTER United have sold defender Garry Richards to Essex neighbours Southend for £50,000.It is hoped that this deal might facilitate a move in the other direction for centre-half Adam Barrett, although Southend chairman, Ron Martin, is not happy with the U's approach for the experienced 27-year-old.
By Carl Marston
COLCHESTER United have sold defender Garry Richards to Essex neighbours Southend for £50,000.
It is hoped that this deal might facilitate a move in the other direction for centre-half Adam Barrett, although Southend chairman, Ron Martin, is not happy with the U's approach for the experienced 27-year-old. The Shrimpers have already turned an initial six-figure bid, believed to be in the region of £200,000.
Richards, though, is definitely on the move. The 21-year-old signed a two-year contract with the Roots Hall club over the weekend, and he made his debut in the 2-1 win over Crawley Town.
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U's boss Geraint Williams confirmed: “Garry (Richards) was disappointed not to be starting too many games. He went out on loan to Brentford last season, and really enjoyed it.
“He asked to be put on the transfer list towards the end of last season, and although we offered him the chance to come off it this summer, he wanted to stay on the list.
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“I had a chat with Garry, telling him that I couldn't guarantee him a start in the team, so he has decided to move on.
“It's no coincidence that this has happened now, with our own interest in Adam Barrett. Southend have turned down our bid, so we'll have to see what happens now.
“We have still not replaced Wayne Brown (£450,000 move to Hull City), so we are on the look-out for a left-sided centre-half,” added Williams.
Romford-born Richards, a product of the Layer Road youth system, burst onto the first-team scene during the successful promotion campaign of 2005-06. He made 19 senior appearances as the U's finished second behind champions Southend.
But his opportunities were limited by the rock-steady partnership of Brown and Pat Baldwin in the Championship last term. By contrast, the Shrimpers were relegated at the end of last season, so Richards will be back in League One.
Richards said: “It was a frustrating season for myself last year, so it is good to have a fresh challenge with Southend. It went a bit stale for me last season, but hopefully I should get more opportunity here.”
Barrett, meanwhile, made 28 appearances for Southend in the Championship last term. His absence from the team, due to injury, coincided with a long winless streak. Furthermore, he missed just one league game in the Shrimpers' previous two campaigns.
He still has a year left on his contract, and Shrimpers chairman, Mr Martin, has insisted: “Under no circumstances will Adam be leaving.”
But the U's might consider an improved offer this week, in their quest to fill the void left by Brown.