Aston Villa confirmed the signing of experienced then 26-year-old defender Micah Richards on June 17, 2015.
The former Manchester City right-back penned a four-year deal with the Midlands side after first-team opportunities became limited under Manuel Pellegrini.
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) June 17, 2015
Richards was a vital part of the City side who won the Premier League in the 2011/12 season.
And there was an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the signing of the title-winning defender.
— MB (@MattyAVFC_) June 17, 2015
— Harvey Hopkins (@harveyhopkins97) June 17, 2015
— Sir Stiles (@SirStiles007) June 17, 2015
— Mitch (@avfcmitchhh) June 17, 2015
After the initial positivity concerning the confirmation of Richards’ arrival at Villa Park, there was a buzz about the club and their chances of achieving someone during the 15/16 season.
And the defender had seen a significant amount of game time during his first season with the club, featuring 28 times that season.
Richards even managed to score twice but was unable to help his side avoid relegation to the Championship.
His performances lacked any recognition, and he was out of sorts – struggling to find the form that made him a powerhouse for Man City and England. He had become a shadow of his former self.
The following season, Richards only featured three times, his last appearance for the club coming on October 15, 2016, in the 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Injuries curtailed the defender’s Villa career and his last time being involved in the Aston Villa side was in a League Cup defeat to Boro.
Richards was included in Villa’s squad for September 2017’s 2-0 Carabao Cup defeat to Middlesbrough, and that remains supporters’ only sighting of him for some time. He didn’t make it off the substitutes’ bench on that evening.
Since then, the 30-year-old has not been close to making the first team, despite his willingness to play.
Richards is in the final year of his contract and looks set to leave the club in the summer.
After the initial positive reaction to his signing, not many would have envisaged a lacklustre set of performances that would see the club relegated before an injury-hit spell that has all but written off his career at Villa Park.
It is a sad end to move that on paper looked a great one but failed to get off the ground, much to the dismay of the Villa supporters.