A quick and skinny winger, who made a big impact when he first broke into the Spurs side, but like many players who came through the ranks, he was replaced by an expensive replacement.
On leaving school, he was chased by a number of top clubs, but chose his local side and went through the England youth ranks, being capped at Youth and Under-19 levels. When he emerged from the Tottenham youth system, he looked like a much younger boy than a top flight footballer, but he possessed blistering pace and an ability to dribble the ball past players using the balance of his body to go past them.
His debut at Luton Town in the First Division was match to remember. It seemed as though the Luton players thought they would be able to intimidate Cooke, but flying along the sandy surface on the flanks, he stripped them for speed and scored one and was influential in the 4-2 victory at Kenilworth Road.
The fact that Richard's breakthrough came at a time when Spurs were bringing through wingers of his type helped. He was paired on the other flank by Ally Dick during his debut and Paul Moran came through a little afterwards. His impact waned a little and he dropped down to the reserves, but was still gaining attention, as he won an England UInder-21 cap. When manager David Pleat played with a loan forward, the system ruled out old fashioned wingers and Cooke was loaned out to Birmingham City to get some first team football before he was sold to AFC Bournemouth, where Harry Redknapp harnessed his speed to provide chances for his forwards. It suited Cooke's abilities and the team thrived, going on to win the Third Division championship in his first season there.
After two years at Dean Court, the winger subsequently moved on to Luton Town and then returned to Bournemouth in 1991, before injury forced him to retire in 1993.
After leaving the game, Richard did the Knowledge and worked as a London taxi driver.