John Richards pays tribute to late Wolves midfielder Martin Patching
John Richards has paid tribute to 'very talented' former Wolves midfielder Martin Patching, who has died aged 65.
Patching made over a century of appearances for the club during a four-year spell, after coming through the youth set-up where he played the 1976 FA Youth Cup final.
Although he was born in Wolverhampton, Patching grew up as a Wolves supporter and signed a youth deal at Molineux in 1973, making his senior debut two years later.
He helped Wolves clinch promotion back to the First Division and eventually left the club in September 1979, going on to play for clubs including Northampton Town, Dunstable, Staines Town and Hendon.
Former team-mate, and current chairman of the Wolves Former Players’ Association, Richards said: “Martin was very young when he broke into the team. He was about 18 when he made his debut for us, but he was a really talented youngster.
“As a player, Martin was very strong, very talented, a powerful midfielder and a big lad. It was just a shame that his chances were restricted because we had Steve Daley, Kenny Hibbitt and Willie Carr in those positions already.
“As a person, he was very quiet and very unassuming, but a very nice and polite lad. He worked hard with his training and just got on with it. He wasn’t a ‘lad about town’, he was just a real down-to-earth lad and talented footballer.”
Patching, who is father of current Luton forward Cauley Woodrow, underwent lifesaving surgery on a brain tumour in 2006, after collapsing on his way to watch Watford's play-off final victory over Leeds. Two years later he was diagnosed with a second tumour.
Richards added: “Unfortunately, I’ve not had contact with Martin for many years now after he moved back to Rotherham, but I was made aware that he was diagnosed with a brain tumour about 15 years ago.
“All his former teammates have good memories of Martin, and it’s a very sad moment for those of us who were at Wolves during the late 70s, even if we didn’t play with him for that long.
“Sixty five is no age at all, so he’s going to be a massive loss to his family and friends, and I offer our condolences to Martin’s loved ones on behalf of Wolves and the Former Players’ Association.”
Wolves have paid tribute to Patching on their own website and through their social media channels.