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Ryman North: Romford and Paul Martin taught me so much admits Brightlingsea Regent forward Tom Richardson

PUBLISHED: 16:00 10 January 2017

Romford manager Paul Martin looks on during his side's clash with Thurrock (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Romford manager Paul Martin looks on during his side's clash with Thurrock (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Former Brentwood Town attacker returned to Ship Lane on Saturday and hit a brace to inspire Regent to 4-1 win over his old club

Romford manager Paul Martin celebrates after Tom Richardson scores, but the duo will be against each other on Saturday (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo). Romford manager Paul Martin celebrates after Tom Richardson scores, but the duo will be against each other on Saturday (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

Brightlingsea Regent forward Tom Richardson insists he will forever be grateful to Romford manager Paul Martin for giving him his first opportunity in senior football.

The striker scored twice against his old club last weekend to inspire a 4-1 Ryman North victory for his current team at Ship Lane.

Richardson did admit he found it weird playing against the likes of Chris Barry, James Ishmail, Jamie Dicks and Nick Reynolds.

He said: “Romford were my first team in senior football so that still means a lot and I get over to watch them as often as I can.

“I obviously work with ‘Magic’ so I do keep in touch. I found Saturday a bit of a weird one though going up against so many of my pals instead of playing alongside them.”

The former Boro forward is one of a number of talented players to have been given a chance by Martin before moving on.

But Richardson revealed his two spells at Romford taught him so much about what is important in non-league football.

After breaking through during the 2012/13 campaign and scoring seven times, the forward moved to Thurrock in March 2013.

Richardson soon returned to Boro for the following season and enjoyed a prolific time in front of goal – finding the net on 16 occasions.

Tom Richardson (left) and Romford's Nick Reynolds look to combine during their time at Ship Lane together (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo). Tom Richardson (left) and Romford's Nick Reynolds look to combine during their time at Ship Lane together (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

Eventually he agreed a switch to Brentwood Town in January 2015 before signing for Brightlingsea this summer.

“I am grateful to ‘Magic’ and I always will be. He was the one who gave me the opportunity to play at this level and he’s never let me forget it,” said Richardson.

“But being at Romford taught me sometimes it’s more important playing for a team your comfortable in rather than chasing money. I think that’s how he manages to keep so many of his players.”

While Richardson enjoyed seeing several old faces on Saturday, his task was to keep Brightlingsea on course for promotion.

A first-half brace from the ex-Manford Way attacker put Regent in control, but Chinedu McKenzie reduced the arrears for Boro in the 55th minute.

Further strikes from Connor Witherspoon and Shamido Pedulu, however, ensured Brightlingsea left Ship Lane with a 4-1 success.

Richardson added: “We knew we had to go to Romford and do a job because we are playing catch up right now on the teams above.

“With games in hand, we knew needed to keep up our good run of form and get another three points. The fact I was able to chip in with two goals was just a bonus.”

Romford and Brightlingsea don’t play each other again until April 8 so for the next couple of months Richardson can go back to wishing his old team well.

Nick Reynolds celebrates his goal for Romford against Thurrock (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) Nick Reynolds celebrates his goal for Romford against Thurrock (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

The striker was delighted to recently see Nick Reynolds become Boro’s all-time leading goalscorer by scoring his 68th goal for the club during their 3-2 defeat against Thurrock on December 28.

Richardson said: “Romford are still the first team I check after a game and I was over the moon for Nick to break the record.

“He’s a really good pal of mine and it was a matter of when not if, but I just hope he can add a couple more now before he’s finished!”

Next up for Richardson and Regent is a trip to Bowers & Pitsea tonight while Romford host Thamesmead Town tomorrow.

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