West Bromwich born inside forward William Richards played junior football for Wordsley in 1891, Singer’s in 1892, and West Bromwich Standard in 1893 before he turned professional with First Division West Bromwich Albion in July 1894. He scored within 8 minutes on his Football League debut to help Albion beat local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-1 in September 1894. Richards then picked up a runners-up medal in the 1895 FA Cup Final as West Brom were beaten 1-0 in the Final by Aston Villa at The Crystal Palace, and he was the club’s top scorer in the 1895-96 and 1898-99 seasons.
When The Baggies were relegated from the First Division, he was transferred to Newton Heath in December 1901 for a £40 fee after 43 goals in 148 appearances, but he only scored once in 9 appearances for the Old Trafford club and the following year moved to non league Stourbridge on a free transfer. In September 1904 he joined Halesowen Town, where he ended his playing career, retiring in April 1907.