Eliot Richards, from Bristol Rovers, had a productive loan spell at St James’ Park scoring five times from eleven starts and six substitute appearances. His most memorable goal was a late winner at Home Park. After City he featured in the Football League, English non-league and Welsh senior football whilst suffering illness and injury along the way.
Eliot, born in South Wales, became a Bristol Rovers trainee in 2008 and a professional in 2009. Up until January 2014, Eliot appeared 107 times in all competitions for the Gasheads scoring 21 times in addition to playing for Wales at under-19 and under-21 level. Then, after starting for Rovers against Accrington in late January 2014, he effectively played out the remainder of his Bristol Rovers contract on loan at Exeter City. As Eliot came in one direction, Alan Gow left in the other.
Making his debut against Portsmouth on 8 February 2014, Eliot scored his first City goal the following week at Southend. He then scored four more times in a flurry during March including a late-winner at Home Park on 25 March 2014. After playing through until the Scunthorpe game on 26 April, Eliot was released by Bristol Rovers following their relegation to the Conference.
In May 2014 Eliot became recent-Exeter assistant manager Rob Edwards’ first signing after taking over at Tranmere Rovers. Then, after Rob Edwards’ sacking, Eliot quickly rejoined him at Cheltenham Town on 2 February 2015. Shortly afterwards, on 28 March 2015, it was announced that Eliot had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Given the all-clear in September 2015, Eliot spent time on loan at Bath City before his release from Cheltenham Town in March 2016. Over the past two seasons Eliot had played just 16 times for Tranmere and on only nine occasions for Cheltenham.
After a brief spell with Tampa Bay Rowdies, Eliot moved on to Weston-super-Mare and Merthyr Town (loan) before appearing regularly during Hereford’s 2017/18 Southern League championship campaign. Remaining at Edgar Street to play in National League North in 2018/19, Eliot returned to Merthyr for the COVID-curtailed 2019/20 season. Then, in September 2020, he moved to National League Barnet where he soon suffered anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus injuries in an FA Cup-tie. Released at the end of the season, Eliot spent time out of football before rejoining Merthyr in December 2021 prior to, in 2022/23, playing for Pontypridd United in the Cymru Premier.