According to Wikipedia Carl was born in Port Maria, Saint Mary, Jamaica on 12 January 1960, however, ‘Up the Posh!’ the Peterborough Utd database states Carl was born on 1st December 1960.
Carl played for five Football League clubs as a forward in a six-year professional career during the 1980s and 1990s, making over 150 League appearances.
Carl played non-league football for Dulwich Hamlet and Enfield before being signed by Harry Redknapp for A.F.C. Bournemouth in 1986. He made 71 league appearances for the “Cherries” in two years with the club, scoring 16 goals. In 1988 he signed for Birmingham City. In one season at St Andrew’s, he made 19 league appearances and scored twice.
Mick Jones paid Birmingham City £37,500 to bring Carl to the Posh in 1989. After debuting in a 1-0 win over Football League newcomers Maidstone Utd on the first day of the 1989/90 season, Carl scored his first Posh goals against Aldershot in the League Cup as Posh crashed out of the competition 6-4 on aggregate over two legs (having led 2-0 after the 1st leg at London Road on 23-08-1989) which resulted in Posh manager Mick Jones being sacked and replaced by Mark Lawrenson.
In January 1990 he joined Jimmy Mullen’s Blackpool for a small fee. He made his debut for Blackpool on 3 February, in a 3–1 victory over Mansfield Town at Bloomfield Road. He scored the hosts’ third goal. He went on to make a further fifteen league appearances in the 1989–90 campaign, scoring three more goals in the process (including the only goal of the game in a victory over Leyton Orient on 20 March). At the season’s end, however, Blackpool were relegated to Division Four, and Jimmy Mullen was sacked.
Mullen was replaced by Graham Carr for the start of the 1990–91 season. Carl did not start in any of Carr’s seventeen league games in charge, but he did appear in one League Cup and one FA Cup tie under Carr. Carr was sacked at the end of November, and his replacement, Billy Ayre, eventually gave Carl a starting place alongside Dave Bamber. Carl made 22 league appearances in 1990–91 and scored 4 goals. In 1991–92, Carl made just three league appearances as Blackpool won promotion back to the third tier of English football via the end-of-season play-offs. Carl left Blackpool to return to non-league football with Enfield, from where he moved on to Bromley.
The following amusing excerpt is about Carl and is taken from Harry Redknapp’s autobiography ‘Harry Always Managing’:
“One of my favourite signings, and not just from my Bournemouth days, was a striker called Carl Richards. I took him from Enfield and he was a real one-off. He was a big lad, and looked more like Carl Lewis. I bought Carl for £10,000, went to pick him up from Enfield and while he went in to say goodbye to his manager, he left me with his mate.
‘What are you signing him for?’ said this kid. ‘I’m 10 times better than him. I’ve got 26 goals this season, he’s only got 12. I’m different class than him. Why don’t you sign me?’
I was worried. ‘I can’t buy you, I’m buying him,’ I told Carl’s mate, ‘but I’ll keep an eye out for you, don’t worry.’
So we took Carl and he was absolutely useless. He could run, but that was about it. We played about six games, couldn’t win one. Carl was terrible. After about four games of this, he came to see me. ‘I’ve got a mate,’ he said. ‘He was asking if he could have a trial. He’s a striker, like me.’
‘And is he as good as you, Carl?’ I asked, suspiciously.
‘No, he’s not as good as me,’ he said, ‘but he’s decent.’
‘Well, tell him not to f***ing bother then,’ I snapped, and that was the end of it.
The following Saturday, we went to play Crystal Palace. ‘My mate, the one who wanted a trial, he’s playing for Palace today,’ said Carl.
‘Oh good,’ I thought. ‘No problem there then.’
Anyway, three goals later I realised Carl wasn’t much of a scout, either. His mate’s name? Ian Wright, who went on to score 238 league goals.
Yet Carl ended up doing fantastic for Bournemouth and I loved him to bits.”
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