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64 Southend United appearances and Birmingham City’s 1994 club record signing – Where is he now?

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With Southend currently struggling to drive the ball out from their defence, they could do with a no-nonsense midfielder that could put the brakes on any opponent’s attack.

Rewind to 25 years ago and you can find a distinctive character running down the left-wing. Ricky Junior Otto may have only been with the club for little over a year but his 64 appearances and 19 goals helped him perfect his magic touch under then-boss Barry Fry.

Otto joined the Shrimpers from Leyton Orient in the summer of 1993 after enduring one of the worst possible starts to a footballing career.

Having trained with Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at various points in his youth, Otto decided that he preferred the intensity and competitive edge of playing for his school and district teams rather than the drilled performances of a top side team.

Growing up on a council estate in Hackney, with an absent father and a mother struggling to maintain her family’s upkeep, Otto started to do things that could make his family more money.

By the time he was 17, Otto was sentenced to a spell in a Young Offenders Institution and following his release with no real guidance on how to change his life, he carried on. In 1988 he was given four years for robbery.

Under Barry Fry at Southend Otto got his chance to showcase his talent on a bigger stage, playing some of the best football of his career during his spell at Roots Hall.

Quickly becoming the club’s star man, he would regularly skip through defences while also tracking back to help his own.

Otto was keen to extend his stay by signing a new contract at Southend but they proved reluctant.

With Fry also having left the club to manage Birmingham City, he sensed his chance to take his star man with him, and in 1994 Otto became their club-record signing for £800,000.

During his four year spell at Birmingham, Otto failed to reach the same heights as he did in a Southend shirt making just 45 appearances and scoring six goals.

He was soon dropped from the team and enjoyed a number of short loan spells with Charlton Athletic, Peterborough United and Notts County.

In 1998 his contract with Birmingham came to an end leaving him to play out the rest of his career with Halesowen Town, Bloxwich United and Romulus before retiring with Rhyl in 2002.

Otto, who is now 51, has reshaped his life away from football having trained as a probation officer and has gone on to found a consultancy which works with young offenders and those at risk of offending.

He has since taken a degree in Theology and has become a devoted Christian. Otto now lives in Walsall while working as the pastor of the ARC Birmingham Church based in Perry Barr.


ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: 64 Southend United appearances and Birmingham City’s 1994 club record signing – Where is he now?

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