Creative midfielder Richard Sneekes joined the Tigers at the end of November 2001 as Brian Little put together a new squad to challenge for the League Division 3 promotion places after the play-off diappointment of the previous season. Sneekes was a talented Dutch midfielder who Little had managed at West Bromwich Albion a few years previously, but whose career was now beginning to fade. He showed flashes of talent and skill but on occasions to rough and tumble of the third tier of English football meant the game passed him by. Sneekes either started or came off the bench for all but two fixtures during Little’s remaining tenure, when the amiable Geordie was dismissed in February 2002 and Billy Russell took temporary charge Richard retained his place in the starting XI. However when Jan Molby took over the Tigers in April 2002 he insisted that the squad lived within reasonable distance from Hull, and with Sneekes still commuting daily from the Midlands a falling out soon arose. Sneekes missed the last two games of the season and left the club that summer.
Richard Sneekes was born in Amsterdam and was one of the Netherlands’ most talented youngsters of his age group in the early 1980s as he came through the Ajax Amsterdam youth system and made over 20 schoolboy international appearances for his country. He made his Ajax first team debut at the age of 16 in October 1985 when he was substitute in an Eredivisie game against Haarlem, but he was unable to kick on and by the summer of 1988 he had added only two further first team appearances in nearly three years. He spent the 1988/89 season on loan at FC Volendam where he made 24 appearances and scored five goals, then in June 1989 he was transferred to Fortuna Sittard. Sneekes spent four seasons at Sittard, located in the far south of the country near the German border, and made his name as a goalscoring midfielder with 20 goals in 127 appearances. In August 1993 he was transferred to Swiss side FC Locarno where he scored 13 times in 26 appearances, form that attracted the attention of English clubs.
In August 1994 Bolton Wanderers paid £200,000 for Sneekes’ signature and he quickly slotted into Sam Allardyce’s starting XI. His eight goals helped the Trotters gain promotion to the Premier League at the end of his first season, but at the higher level Sneekes’ skills were less prominent and in March 1996 he returned to the second tier and signed for West Bromwich Albion, having made 69 appearances for Bolton and scored 11 goals. At The Hawthorns Sneekes was a first team fixture for five seasons and became something of a cult figure due to his flowing locks as well as his footballing talents. As the Baggies stabilised in the middle of the League Division 1 table, Sneekes amassed 253 appearances and scored 34 goals, including nine goals in his first ten appearances for West Brom in March and April 1996. After the Baggies lost the play-off semi-final to Richard’s former club Bolton Wanderers in May 2001 he moved on and joined Stockport County. The Hatters’ rather agricultural style of football at that time didn’t appear to be a good fit for Sneekes, and after only ten appearances in three months he moved to Hull City.
Sneekes spent the 2002/03 season in Denmark playing for Herfolge BK then retired from playing, remaining settled in the West Midlands and commencing a coaching career. However in 2007 he was tempted back to play a few games for Hinckley United after a masters tournament and in 2010 he briefly turned out for Dudley Town alongside his son Giorgio.
In 2007 he set up a football coaching company that provided soccer schools for youngsters, including a focus on disabled and vulnerable children. Alongside that work he was a coach at Tamworth FC for the 2010/11 season then in 2011/12 he was first team coach at Hereford United. He was first team manager of Rushall Olympic between 2014 and 2016, performed the same role at Sutton Coldfield Town between November 2016 and January 2018, then was a coach at Halesowen Town until October 2018. Alongside these non-league roles, in September 2014 Sneekes started working as a PE teacher at Highclare School in Sutton Coldfield.
Sneekes was capped 22 times for Netherlands Schoolboys then won two Under-21 caps for his country in 1998 and 1989.
Date/Place of Birth: 30 October 1968, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Hull City First Game: 1 December 2001, Oxford United H (League Division 3), 33 years, 32 days old
Hull City Final Game: 9 April 2002, Rochdale A (League Division 3), 33 years, 161 days old
Ajax Amsterdam (1984-1989), FC Volendam (1988-1989, loan), Fortuna Sittard (1989-1993), FC Locarno (1993-1994), Bolton Wanderers (1994-1996), West Bromwich Albion (1996-2001), Stockport County (2001), Hull City (2001-2002), Herfolge BK (2002-2003), Hinckley United (2007), Dudley Town (2010)
Hull City Record
Career: 25 apps, 0 goalsRichard Sneekes
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