Mascots, legends and players join West Brom fun day for Richard Eades - GALLERY
Friends, family and Baggies heroes from past and present were among the hundreds to turn out for a football fun day in memory of Albion fanatic Richard Eades.
The day in honour of Richard, who died last year aged just 42, was held at Halesowen Town FC yesterday.
Albion’s caretaker boss Darren Moore and midfielder Chris Brunt were among the big names to attend.
WATCH: Footage from the charity match
More than 1,400 people took the time to pay tribute to Richard yesterday at the fun day organised by his close friend Dave Challenor.
Mr Challenor, better known as mascot Baggie Bird, said: “It’s brilliant to get more than 1,400 people here for Richard.
“The turnout was amazing from everyone at the club – Richard would be loving it. It’s fitting that all the players came together.
“Albion have been unbelievable with myself and Eadesy, especially his young family.
“We haven’t asked for anything, they have just given to us. They went above and beyond. West Bromwich Albion are a great family club.”
The day kicked off with a nine-a-side tournament – fittingly won be Eadesy FC, a team made up of Dave and Richard’s friends.
Mascots from all over the country then took part in a special ‘It’s a Knockout’ style match.
The showpiece event saw Boing FC, a club Richard was involved with for more 10 years both as player and manager, take on an Albion Legends XI.
Fittingly, the Player Of The Tournament award was given to a goalkeeper – the position Richard played.
Big Dave took charge of the Albion Legends XI while Brunty was Boing FC boss for the day.
Darren Moore said: “It was a wonderful tribute for a wonderful man. He touched lots of hearts – thousands of hearts at West Bromwich Albion.
“The mere fact so many people attended epitomises the person he was.
“Through players, staff, fans and the community, we all turned out to come and support his family for a wonderful cause.
“Richard was a warming, approachable man who would have done anything for you.
"He would always lend himself to any situation that he was in and nothing was ever too much to ask.
“He always had a wonderful smile on his face. I was delighted to turn out to support his family.”
Andy Johnson, Geoff Horsfield and Bob Taylor were among the former Baggies who attended.
Richard’s partner of 18 years Carly Evans said: “It was emotional but nice to see so many people turned out for him.
"He’s given me two beautiful children and our best memories are with the kids.
"It just goes to show that more people out there knew what a great bloke he was. I’ve always known what he was like.
“He was all for his family and his friends. He would do anything for anybody. And he loved his football.
"West Brom have been unbelievable, from agreeing to meet the kids and their support for the fun day.”
Richard died in December, having completed nearly 30 years of service at Albion after first getting involved with the club aged 14.
He worked as a member of the groundstaff and then coaching staff – but he will be most fondly remembered for his role as mascot ‘Albi’, donning the famous costume since 2007.
Geoff Horsfield said: “It’s brilliant seeing the old faces and really good to get together and help a fantastic cause as well.
“I think it says a massive amount about Rich, everybody loved him around the club and it just proves that.”
Andy Johnson added: “The turn-out is a testament to the character of the bloke and to his family and friends. He was a well loved guy around the Black Country.”