The Curious Case Of Omar Richards

There’s a curious case going on around Nottingham Forest defender, Omar Richards, although owner Evangelos Marinakis has probably seen more of him that Forest fans themselves in recent times.

At 26-years-old the south-east London born, former Reading and Bayern Munich player joined the Reds from the German giants after he played seventeen times Die Roten in the 2021-22 season.

Over a hundred appearances for the Royals prior to Richards’ move to the Allianz Stadium, was done as a free transfer by the German Giants, then Board Director of Sport, Hasan Salihamidzic saying of the then 23-year-old’s signing: “We’re delighted Omar is coming to FC Bayern.

“Omar is a technically gifted player on the left side of defence.

“He finds good solutions going forward, he’s very alert and we trust him to play a good role in our team.”

During that season in Germany, and those seventeen appearances, it was enough for the Lewisham-born defender to collect a couple of honours, the DFL Supercup (3-1 versus Borussia Dortmund), and the 2022 Bundesliga championship (by eight points from Dortmund).

Then, after just one season there, he was back on British soil, and in the East Midlands, as then-Forest manager, Steve Cooper, and owner Marinakis, put together an £8.5 million package to bring him to Trentside.

That was in July 2022, Richards signing a then, four-year contract and the defender said of the move at the time: “I’m thrilled to return to England by joining Nottingham Forest at such an exciting time.

“The club has enjoyed an incredible last few months and there’s great ambitions for the Premier League return.

“I’ve played against Forest in the past and they get such great backing from their fans, whilst the City Ground is an amazing place that I can now call home.

“I can’t wait to join up with the squad this week and begin preparations for the new season.”

Richards would then miss the entire of the 2022-23 season due to a (hairline) shin fracture being picked up in scans after completing his club medical; he’s also endured a hernia operation.

Sent to Greek Super League side, Olympiacos, on-loan, has though, proved a little god-send for Richards, although he did suffer a pulled muscle early on for the Piraeus-based club.

A season which has seen him play for a club who’ve had four managers (in under twelve months), as well as hoping his parent club, Forest’s boss, Nuno Espirito Santo, is keeping tabs on him, he has racked up over a dozen appearances, assisting in a goal along the way.

What has proved even more remarkable in the Omar Richards story is that the Forest defender has, earlier this week, lifted the Europa Conference League, he being part of an Olympiacos side who created Greek footballing history in becoming the first in their country to lift a major, European trophy.

Richards made two (substitute) appearances for the Greek side, who won courtesy of a goal four minutes from the end of extra-time by Ayoub El Kaabi, saw them win 1-0 against ACF Fiorentina.

In addition to Richards, another former Forest connection with the Conference League winners is that of Portuguese attacking midfielder, Joao Carvalho, he having made 74 appearances (8 goals) for the Reds over four seasons (2018-22), before leaving the Midlands, for the Piraeus, at the start of the year.

Now that his season-long loan spell in Greece is over, Richards will soon be heading back to Trentside to resume a playing career that has faltered in recent years – his Greek Odyssey however has perhaps done enough to revitalise – but what happened next, that’s up to Nuno!

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @olympiacosfc Omar Richards with the UEFA Conference trophy.

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