Wellens playing for Leicester City in 2010
|Full name||Richard Paul Wellens|
|Date of birth||26 March 1980|
|Place of birth||Moston, Manchester, England|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|2012||→ Ipswich Town (loan)||7||(0)|
|2015–2016||→ Oldham Athletic (loan)||4||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Richard Paul "Richie" Wellens (born 26 March 1980) is an English professional footballer who plays for English club Shrewsbury Town. He primarily plays as a central midfielder, although he has also been deployed in defensive midfield.
Wellens began his career at Manchester United before signing for Blackpool in 2000, where he went on to win promotion from League Two via the playoffs in 2001. In 2005 he left them to move to Lancashire rivals Oldham Athletic where he made 87 appearances in two seasons at the club. After his spell at Oldham, Wellens made his successful move to Doncaster Rovers in the summer of 2007 where he became an instant fans' favorite, helping the club rise into the Championship for the first time in 50 years after a 1-0 win over Leeds United at Wembley. His time at Doncaster came to an end in 2009 after he had helped the club to consolidate their Championship position as he moved to Leicester City for a fee of £1.2 million. In his time in the Midlands, Wellens made 129 appearances, scoring four goals, and winning the club's Player of the Year in 2011. After a short loan spell with Ipswich Town, Wellens re-joined Doncaster in 2013.
Born in Moston, Greater Manchester, Wellens started his career at Manchester United, playing alongside the likes of Wes Brown and John O'Shea. His only first team appearance for the club was as a substitute in a 3–0 League Cup defeat to Aston Villa on 13 October 1999.
Frustrated at the lack of opportunities at Manchester United, he moved to Blackpool in 2000. Wellens became an instant first team regular at the club and before long he was a fan's favourite. While at the club he helped them win promotion via winning the 2001 Football League Third Division play-off Final which he played in at the Millennium Stadium. He would return to win at the Cardiff stadium two more times with Blackpool, both with the LDV Vans Trophy in 2002 where he scored a crucial opening goal against Huddersfield Town in the first leg of the North Area Final and 2004, the same season he was placed in the 2003–04 Football League Second Division PFA Team of the Year. He made 226 appearances with Blackpool before his move in 2005 to Oldham Athletic.
In 2005 he left Blackpool for his local side Oldham Athletic, with Scott Vernon going the other way. This was done to bypass the 50% sell-on clause that Manchester United had added during Wellens' transfer to the Seasiders. In summer 2007, after turning down an improved contract offered by Oldham, he signed a two-year contract with fellow League One side Doncaster Rovers. Wellens made the 2004–05, 2006–07 and 2007–08 League One PFA Team of the Year. Overall, he made 101 appearances and scored 8 times for Oldham.
Wellens was a member of the Doncaster side that gained promotion to the Championship in 2007–08. His midfield performances brought him several individual awards, several key goals and helped the team gain promotion. His first competitive goal for Doncaster was in August 2007 in the Football League Cup with the second strike in a 4–1 victory over Lincoln City; however, this wasn't the first time he had hit the back of the net for Doncaster: in his very first appearance in a Donny shirt, Wellens chipped the ball over the opposition goalkeeper and into the net from 40 yards in a pre-season friendly against non-league Retford United. Wellens made 97 appearances, scoring 10 times, during his spell with Doncaster prior to his £1,000,000 move to Leicester City.
On 7 July 2009, Wellens joined Leicester City for a potential fee of £1.2 million, signing a three-year contract. Their biggest signing of the summer, Wellens was named by the BBC Sport as the club's key player for the 2009–10 season. He made his debut in a 2–1 win over Swansea City on 8 August 2009, scoring his first goal in a 2–0 win over Middlesbrough on 2 May 2010. Wellens featured in all but three matches for Leicester in The Championship that season. He played a crucial role in Nigel Pearson's team that reached the play-offs – only to lose to Cardiff City away in Wales.
In his second season at the club, Wellens continued to play in midfield under the reign of both Paulo Sousa and Sven-Göran Eriksson. He was named Championship Player of the Month for January, and won the club's player of the year award on 3 May 2011.
During the 2011–12 season, Wellens ended the season, back under the returning Nigel Pearson, with 46 appearances in all competitions and captaining the side 19 times.
On 23 July 2013 Wellens left Leicester City by mutual consent, having played a total of 149 games and scoring 6 goals over his four seasons with them.
Return to Doncaster Rovers
On 26 July Wellens played for Doncaster Rovers in the first half of their pre-season friendly against Bradford City, and on 2 August signed a short term contract with the club. In January 2014 he extended his contract for a further 18 months.
Wellens joined Shrewsbury Town on a free transfer in January 2016, signing an 18-month contract. Having helped Shrewsbury to safety in League One, making twelve appearances in the second half of the 2015−16 season, he was made available on a free transfer less than five months later with manager Micky Mellon unable to guarantee him first-team football.
- Doncaster Rovers
- Blackpool F.C.
- Oldham Athletic
- Doncaster Rovers
- Leicester City
- Football League Championship Player of the Month: January 2011
- Leicester City Player of the Year: 2010/11
- "Villa make merry with United's fledglings". Independent.co.uk (The Independent). 13 October 1999. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
- Gillatt, Peter (30 November 2009). Blackpool FC on This Day: History, Facts and Figures from Every Day of the Year. Pitch Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-905411-50-2.
- Doncaster sign midfielder Wellens, BBC Sport, 4 July 2007
- "Richie Wellens signs for Leicester City". www.DoncasterRoversFC.co.uk (Doncaster Rovers F.C.). 2009-07-07. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
- "Foxes sign Wellens from Doncaster". BBC Sport. 8 Jul 2009. Retrieved 24 Jan 2011.
- "Championship club-by-club guide". BBC Sport. 2009-08-06. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
- "Leicester 2 – 1 Swansea". BBC Sport. 2009-08-08. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
- "Leicester 2 – 0 Middlesbrough". BBC Sport. 2010-05-02. Retrieved 2010-05-02.
- Wellens profile LCFC.com, 09/4/2011
- Wellens Wins Monthly Award, LCFC.com, 11 Mar 2011
- "Richie Wellens wins Leicester City player of year award". BBC Sport. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
- "Ipswich sign Leicester midfielder Richie Wellens on loan". BBC Sport. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "Richie Returns". DRFC Official Site. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- "PD: "Richie deserves credit"". DRFC official site. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- "Kyle Vassell and Richie Wellens sign for Shrewsbury Town". BBC Sport. 8 January 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
- "Shrewsbury Town offer Richie Wellens on a free transfer". Shropshire Star. 27 May 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
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