The Black Cats' winger has told how his religion saved him from the glitz and glamour lifestyle and helped him shed his bad-boy image
Kieran Richardson has explained how his new-found faith has changed him for the better.
The 27-year-old visits a Durham church with lingerie model partner Natalie Suliman after announcing his faith last year.
Richardson told how he found God after missing out on a place in the Manchester United squad for the 2007 FA Cup final, going out afterwards and meeting his partner.
“I wasn’t meant to go out, but I was upset. It was a big changing point.
The winger explained how he was far from happy with his glamorous lifestyle which he was putting ahead of his football.
“I would go out after a game, get drunk, go to nightclubs, meet women. For someone looking from the outside in, you would think I was living a good life. But within myself, I wasn’t happy. My career went off the rails.
“I was thinking more about my social life than football. I was more worried about cars and houses."
Ironically though it was this lifestyle that helped him to find his partner and eventually his new religion.
“But me going out in the West End was when change happened, when I saw this woman. It was a big changing point.
“After a while I asked her: ‘Do you want to come on holiday to Barbados?’ She said ‘I’ll come to Barbados if you go to church’.”
“My faith is so strong now. Five years ago, I used to just care about clothes, looking good and going out.
“Now I have Jesus Christ in my life and I feel so good within my heart. If I didn’t get picked for a game before, I used to blame the manager but now I think: ‘God doesn’t want me to play’.
“I just want to praise Jesus Christ and go to heaven. That’s all I care about.”