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Richards: Happy To Join

5 July 2013

New signing Matt Richards gives his first interview to & Robins Player.

Earlier today it was announced that Matt Richards was officially a Robin after signing a two year contract.

The 28 year-old brings a wealth of experience and a clear quality that has enabled him to forge a strong career in the game with clubs such as Ipswich, Walsall and Shrewsbury.

Matt arrived at the training ground early this morning and was greeted by Mark Yates before signing his contract which will see him through until the summer of 2015. After all the official paperwork was done he was able to sit down with and he admitted that joining Cheltenham Town was an easy decision to make.

"This is really good news for myself," he said.

"I've spoken to a few clubs but it was nice to be able to choose Cheltenham because I've heard great things about the club and the area so I am pleased to be here.

"As soon as I heard about Cheltenham I was really looking forward to coming here and playing. Whenever I have played against Cheltenham they have always done well and they like to pass the ball which is what I personally like to do too. It's a lovely part of the world for my family too and that is important to me.

"My knowledge of Cheltenham Town is just from playing really. It's a nice part of the country and I really think I'm going to be happy here."

Matt, a former England U21 international, was of course Shrewsbury Town's captain last season and an integral part of the team that won promotion into League One.

He was released by the club in the summer but he believes his experience can be a big positive for his new team.

"You always need a mixture of experience and youth in a squad to push for promotion which is what this club will be doing," said Matt.

"If you have leaders on the pitch then you will get the best out of everyone and hopefully I can be a part of that."

The deal may have come as a surprise to Cheltenham fans and the deal was quickly done after Mark Yates had spoken to Matt personally.

Matt admitted he didn't know any of his new team-mates but revealed he had only ever heard good things about the club and especially from former Robin Luke Summerfield.

"I didn't speak to Luke ahead of signing in all honesty," said Matt.

"In the past he has talked about the club and it has always been about how they play great football and how it's a really good club. Everything I have heard about this club has been so good.

"Right now though I cannot wait to get started. I heard I missed one of the toughest sessions of the summer so I'm happy about that! 

"I've been doing some fitness work by myself but I'm reasonably fit anyway. I'm looking forward to getting going now and playing some football because it has been a few months!"

Matt has had a good career in football so far and has had some stand out moments such as making his professional debut in the UEFA Cup and representing England at various age levels.

One of his proudest moments however was winning promotion with Shrewsbury Town and he won the player of the year award in that season after being chosen by both his team-mates and the fans.

It's clear that he has been a popular player wherever he has played and Matt explained to us exactly what he can bring to Cheltenham Town.

"I'm predominantly a central midfielder but I can play out on the left and at left back, he explained.

"I like to pass and get forward at the right time to chip in with the odd goal. I'm not a bad penalty taker either! I always like to step up and sometimes you miss but I'll always be the first up there.

"I'm confident I can help the club reach the aim of promotion. This squad looks very good and hopefully this will be the year. It was similar at Shrewsbury because we went a couple of years floating around the play-offs but hopefully this will be our year and it looks like it could be a very good season."

Watch the full interview with Matt on Robins Player by clicking here.

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