TAFFY Richardson insists he wouldn’t swap a swansong playing alongside his son for anything – not even a place in the World Cup final.
Less than 24 hours after the global feast of football ended in Brazil, Poole Town’s iconic midfielder brings down the curtain on the ultimate semi-professional career with a testimonial against Cherries’ development squad at Tatnam tonight (7.45pm).
Richardson, 47, has been pulling on his boots for the past 40 years and has made more than 1,000 appearances for various non-league clubs, including over 400 for the Dolphins.
But Dorset football’s answer to Peter Pan has saved his most meaningful fixture for last as chip-off-the-old-block George Richardson, a 15-year-old prospect from Wimborne Town’s youth system, teams up with his old man for the one and only time.
Richardson Snr told the Daily Echo: “It’s a brilliant way to go out, it just doesn’t get any better than this for me.
“If I had the choice of playing in a World Cup final, an FA Cup final or playing alongside my son, I would choose a game with George every time.
“This will be more special for me than anything else. You dream of finishing on top or with a great game and I’m just so pleased he is of the right age to come play his part.
“Tatnam has been a big part of my life from when it was just a field right through to what it has become now.
"To have my son playing, my family, friends and some of the most fantastic supporters you could wish for round me will be just perfect.”
George, who is coached by former Cherries midfielder Marcus Browning, will be one of four guests alongside ex-England international Darren Anderton and Dean Court favourites Warren Cummings and Shaun Cooper.
But despite accommodating the quartet, Dolphins’ recently-appointed first-team coach was adamant the game would be more than just an exhibition.
Richardson Snr added: “It doesn’t matter whether it’s training or a friendly match, you play properly.
“It’s our first warm-up game so it will be an important training exercise for Poole and there is no way those young Bournemouth lads will be messing about, they will all want to push for the first team.
“I have no worries about George playing in that environment, he is a decent footballer and will do alright in there.
“On the pitch he is really confident. He’s a bit like me in the fact he thrives on big games, it won’t daunt him.”
Development coach Stephen Purches anticipates few squad changes from last Thursday’s 4-0 win at Hamworthy Recreation but will further assess his options when the first team return today.
Purches said: “Taffy’s achievements are fantastic and he deserves recognition for his sheer desire.
"Everyone on the scene knows all about his commitment and we are more than pleased to play a part in his big day.”
Meanwhile, Poole boss Tom Killick will hand a second chance to midfielder Micky Hubbard who has returned to his former club for pre-season.
Dan Munday, a young forward from Dorchester, will also feature but the injured Warren Byerley and unavailable trio Mark Jermyn, Neil Martin and Keith Emmerson miss out.
Dolphins: (from) Hutchings, Dickson, Clarke, Tallack, Whisken, Dibba, Walker, Davis, Burbidge, Brooks, Preston, Devlin, Hubbard, Lowes, Pettefer, Elliott, Turner, Munday, Buck, Swindlehurst. Guest appearances: S Richardson, G Richardson, Cummings, Anderton, Cooper.
Cherries: (from) Holmes, O Flaherty, Muleba, Buckley, Addison, Zubar, Butcher, Lee, Harfield, McCarthy, Kaye, Wakefield, Gilkes, Whitfield, Walsh, A Coulibaly, Murphy, Stockley, Bassele O’Hanlon, Goodship, Matthews.
- Admission for Richardson's testimonial is set at £7 for adults, £5 for concessions and £1 for under-16s.