April 28, 1990, remains one of the finest days in Exeter City's history as, on the back of an incredible home record, we secured our first title in our club's history. During this month we will be taking a look back - in alphabetical order - of the main players in that title winning side. This time we look at a reliable and versatile player who made 20 appearances during the title winning campaign.
89/90 LEAGUE APPEARANCES: 30
Richard Dryden may not be one of the most familiar names from the title winning team, but he was worth his weight in gold to Terry Cooper and the club.
Richard started his career in 1986 as a trainee with Bristol Rovers, signing professional terms in July 1987 and making 13 appearances for the Gas before spending two spells on loan at St James Park in the September and October of 1988.
Proving popular with the manager and his teammates alike, ‘Dryo’ returned for a third time in March 1989, this time for a fee of £10,000 plus add-ons, which included a further £5,000 after a set number of appearances and 40% of any future fee that the Grecians received for the player.
All in all, the total fee - including all of the add-ons - was £125,000, which according to the record books makes Richard the Grecians most expensive signing of all time.
Appearing 30 times during the championship-winning season, Dryden chipped in with a total of seven league goals – a return that could only be bettered by City veteran Steve Neville, and the club’s top-scorer Darran Rowbotham.
His performances soon attracted the attention of other clubs, and the following season City turned down a £60,000 offer for the player from Rotherham United.
Eventually Notts County came in with a figure that could not be ignored, and so after 92 games and 13 goals for the Grecians, Richard was on his way to Meadow Lane for a fee of £250,000 plus 20 per cent of any future sale.
As his career progressed, his time with City continued to have an influence, first when he joined Terry Cooper at Birmingham City in March 1993, and again when Cooper’s scouting recommendation got him a move to Southampton.
Following his time as a player, Richard continued his long association with the Cooper family, working with Mark at Tamworth, Darlington and Notts County.
This article has been created using material from the Grecian Archive and ECFC Museum as part of the 'Celebrating our Heritage' programme, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and supported by the University of Exeter.