Former Bantams defender Dean Richards has died after a long-term illness, believed to be a brain tumour, it was announced today. He was 36.

He was admitted to a hospice in Leeds earlier this week.

After retiring in 2005 due to ill health Richards, who also played for Tottenham, Wolves and Southampton, was forced to retire from the game in March 2005 after suffering from dizzy spells and headaches while at White Hart Lane.

Bradford-born Richards, a former pupil at Rhodesway School, started his career with his hometown club, where he made more than 80 appearances between 1992-1995, scoring four goals.

Richards moved to Wolves in 1995, where he made 145 appearances in a four-year spell and became a crowd favourite.

He subsequently moved on to Southampton, who were then in the top flight, where he spent two years before switching to White Hart Lane for £8.1million, despite the player not having earned any senior international caps for England.

Richards, who played four times at Under-21 level, spent four years in north London, although his time there was dogged by injury.

He was forced to give up the game in March 2005 after suffering dizzy spells and headaches, which were reportedly initially diagnosed as an inner ear infection.

Richards made almost 350 appearances in a career spanning 13 years before his retirement and returned to the game in August 2007 as a youth team coach at Bradford.

A club statement said: “The club are truly devastated to hear of the death of former fans’ favourite Dean Richards.”

The club will hold a minute’s silence in his memory before the next home game against Rotherham on March 8.

City decided against one today because many of the fans inside the ground may not have heard the news and they wanted to allow it to sink in.