Spotlight: Richie Partridge
On Saturday, 11th of September, former Ireland under-21 international Richie Partridge made his debut for his new club. He was named in the starting lineup for The New Saints FC, known to many as the punchline of Jeff Stelling’s infamous “they’ll be dancing in the streets of Total Network Solutions” comment on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday. The move to the Welsh champions is yet another step along Partridge’s well-trodden footballing path. He lives near the Wales-England border, and can easily commute to TNS training and matches, as well as the University of Salford in Greater Manchester, where he is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Football Rehabilitation. Thus the opportunity to sign for The New Saints was an easy decision, and the final paperwork was signed on Friday, just hours before his first piece of action with his new club.
He made an impressive debut on Saturday, playing for an injury-depleted TNS against Camarthen Town. Playing the full 90 minutes, the midfielder was instrumental in creating attacks, crossed for an own goal, and was unfortunately denied by the crossbar and goalkeeper from adding his own name to the scoresheet in TNS’s seven goal victory.
Partridge turned 30 on Sunday, and has had a varied career. As a nineteen year old, he signed as a trainee for Liverpool, where he appeared three times in cup games. During his spell at Anfield, Partridge was involved in loan spells to both Bristol Rovers and Coventry City. He spent the entire 2003-04 season with the Sky Blues, and was voted Fans’ Player of the Year.
In the summer of 2005, Sheffield Wednesday picked up the Dublin-born player on a free transfer, and he had a mixed season during his single year at the club. He performed much better the following season with Rotterham United, playing 33 league games and scoring three goals. Chester City were next to sign the journeyman, and he made 65 appearances in two seasons for the club.
More recently, he spent a short period at Milton Keynes Dons, before moving briefly on loan to Kettering Town, and then on to Stockport County earlier this year. He played 22 games for Stockport, since joining in January, but again was released at the end of August. He was without a club for just over a week before he signed for TNS on Friday. Hopefully this will be a successful year for the popular player who appeared eight times for the Republic of Ireland under-21 side.