Former football bad boy Kieran Richardson – once dubbed ‘baby Bentley’ by ex-manager Roy Keane because of his love for fast cars, says God saved him from himself.
Sunderland's Kieran Richardson battles with Theo Walcott at 'The Stadium of Light'
The ex-Manchester Utd star, currently plying his trade at Sunderland, found God in 2007 but only went public with his faith last December when he revealed a T-shirt with the words- ‘ I belong to Jesus’ after scoring against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Capped 8 times by England, the versatile left winger cum left back recently shared his testimony for the first time at his home church- “Good Word” Ministries in Durham, and talked about unhappy he was with living the “good life”.
Synonymous with football’s ‘bling’ culture, partying and looking good eventually came before his football.
He told an interviewer: “Five years ago all I cared about was going out, clothing and looking good.
“I wasn’t happy. Now I have Jesus Christ in my life and I feel good in my heart ’.
Unpopular amongst Utd fans, he was labelled “Lord Snooty’’ because of his aloofness, and his confrontational attitude earned him the wrath of opposing fans: once whilst on loan at West Brom he taunted Norwich City fans after their defeat to the “baggies’’.
He admitted: “I started thinking about money rather than football. I’d go out with my friends after a game to nightclubs, get drunk and meet women. I did that for a very long time.
“If you were on the outside looking in, you would think I was living the good life.
“But I wasn’t happy. My last year in Manchester [United] career, my football went off the rails. I was more worried about my social life than football.
“I knew I wasn’t performing because I was more interested in houses and cars.”
But meeting Natalie Suliman, now his wife, proved to be a turning point in his life.
“After a while I asked her: ‘Do you want to come on holiday to Barbados?’ She said ‘I’ll come to Barbados if you go to Church’.
Richardson who was now at Sunderland, agreed, and it was during that visit that he gave his life to Christ. “It felt so special. It was a crazy feeling.”
“My life changed. It didn’t change straightaway. It was a gradual thing; It has been a gradual process.
“My faith is so strong now, the way I look at life is completely different.”
And Londoner Richardson already knows what he wants to do post-football, spread the word in the developed world, so will we see him in stadiums again? Who can tell…
August 22nd, 2012 - Posted & Written by Hefin Rhys Jones