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Football News: Champ Man Legends Part 2: Richie Partridge

Champ Man Legends Part 2: Richie Partridge
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Richie Partridge Championship Manager 03-04 Edition

 

Richard Joseph Partridge is an example of how talent can sometimes not make it through no fault of the player's own. There are lots of player who fail because they would rather play at being gangster or feel they have already made the grade and slack off, but there are also those who fall by the wayside due to injuries. Partridge is one of those unlucky individuals.

As a youngster in Ireland he impressed enough to get himself a trial with Liverpool, joining the academy at the same time as his future brother-in-law Michael Owen. He established himself as part of Brian Kerr's 'golden generation' Republic of Ireland under-18 team that won the U-18 European Championships in Cyprus in 1998.

Then, at the age of 18 as he was looking to make his breakthrough into the first team, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left leg. He spent a whole season on the sidelines. On his return to fitness, he was not in the first team picture. He went on a short term loan to finish the 2000/01 season with Bristol Rovers.

The following season Partridge was back with Liverpool but was unable to force his way into the team, but something was to happen in April 2002 that changed things for him. Liverpool's veteran Scottish midfielder Gary McAllister was appointed as manager of Championship side Coventry City and he had new ideas he wanted to employ tactically.

McAllister was looking to use the now ubiquitous inverted wingers and took Partridge on loan for the 2002/03 season to fill the left wing berth. There he had an excellent season, good enough to get a call up to the full Ireland squad and win the vote to become Coventry fans' player of the year. This season was why he was so highly rated on Champ Man that he became a must buy.

At the end of that season Partridge returned to Liverpool full of confidence and looking to make an impression on the first team but it was not to be. Instead he suffered another anterior cruciate ligament injury, this time in his right leg which ruled him out for another whole season. It effectively ended his Liverpool career and he was released at the end of the 2004/05 season after 8 years at Anfield.

Partridge signed for Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship, where his interest in learning about physiotherapy was piqued by a friend there who was doing a course in physiotherapy at the University of Salford. Realising quickly the sharpness he needed was no longer there to play at Championship level and that he would need a career when he finished playing, Partridge also enrolled in a physiotherapy course at Salford that he could fit around his playing career.

Released by Wednesday at the end of the season, Partridge joined Rotherham United for a season, again being released in the summer. In the summer of 2007 he signed for Chester, purely, by his own admittal, because he lived there. For the first few months everything was going well, the club was in a play-off position and he was playing better. Then the club hit financial difficulties, the team went into free-fall and his form nosedived too.

The following season, 2008/09, his form had led to him being dropped from the team as they slid out of the Football League. It was not all bad as Partridge graduated with a first class degree in physiotherapy and became a director at a physiotherapy clinic in Chester. He also started his master's degree in Football Rehabilitation at Edge Hill University, which he completed a couple of years later with a distinction.

Partridge's playing career was not yet over and MK Dons stepped in to offer him a one year contract in July 2009, but he failed to impress and was sent off on loan to Kettering Town at the end of November. On his return to MK in January he was released once more, but managed to get a 6 month deal with Stockport County, though he only lasted a month there before they also released him.

The Welsh Premier now beckoned and he joined The New Saints in September 2010. There he was much more comfortable at the level of football and scored 6 goals in his first 6 games, including a hat-trick versus Aberystwyth Town, to win the Welsh Premier's player of the month award for October 2010. In March 2011 he signed a contract extension for another season, but his persistent knee problems forced him to retire from playing in August.

Partridge did make a playing comeback in November 2012, with another Welsh Premier side, Airbus, but, fifteen games later (two thirds as a substitute) he made his retirement permanent. Since then he has mixed his work as a director at the clinic in Chester with a job with former club Liverpool. He began working at the LFC Academy, overseeing the medical department for under-9 to under-16 level.

Since then he has twice been promoted, initially to work with the U21s and then, in the summer of 2016 he was promoted to work with the first team as a physio. He does still get to run out on the pitch on matchdays with Liverpool, but as a part of their medical team, rather than playing staff now.

For the previous Champ Man Legends article on Cherno Samba click HERE

Written by Tris Burke June 05 2018 19:48:23

 

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