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Speed the model professional on and off the pitch

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Phil McNulty | 15:25 UK time, Sunday, 27 November 2011

The sense of shock that cloaked the entire football community after the death of Wales manager Gary Speed was an accurate measure of the esteem in which he was held.

At Anfield, Liverpool supporters impeccably observed a minute's silence for the boyhood Evertonian who once headed an equaliser in a Merseyside derby at the Kop end.

The silence was also to pay respects to Luca Jones, the son of Liverpool keeper Brad Jones, following the five-year-old's recent death from leukaemia - but old partisanships were willingly set aside in memory of Speed before the meeting with Manchester City.

A sense of loss was palpable as Liverpool's Wales striker Craig Bellamy withdrew from the game at Anfield following the death of the man who was assisting his renaissance for club and country.

Speed, who was found hanged aged 42, won respect throughout the game for an exemplary playing career - and appeared to be on course to carve a similar path in management with a rapidly maturing Wales team.

He enjoyed early success as a title-winner at Leeds United, earning a reputation as the consummate professional as he moved on to Everton, Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers before retiring at Sheffield United in May 2010.

The disbelief that such a vibrant, popular figure should die at such a young age is only made more acute by the growing belief that he was in the process of preparing to make as big an impact in management as he did as a player. Speed, it seemed, had it all in front of him.

Gary Speed made his debut for Leeds United and went on to play over 500 games in the Premier League. Photo: Getty

He may have made an uncertain start in management at Sheffield United, but his recent work with Wales was drawing admiration for the manner in which he had moulded a succession of outstanding young players like Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey with the older generation such as Bellamy.

The last time I saw Speed was at Wembley following Wales' 1-0 defeat against England in September. He was in buoyant mood despite the loss.

He declared his "pride" at the way the team he was shaping had played and those who watched and followed Wales regularly at close quarters spoke of the optimism and sense of purpose Speed had brought to a struggling football nation.

Events since had done nothing to lessen their faith, with the recent 4-1 friendly win against Norway heralded as one of their finest in recent times - with even the modest Speed describing the performance as "sensational" as they recorded a third successive win for the first time since 2008.

Speed had given Wales a renewed sense of direction, with his fresh, modernising approach chiming perfectly with the personality of the team under his guidance.

So it was against this bright backdrop that Speed's death was announced, provoking an outpouring of genuine emotion and grief for someone known as one of the game's genuine nice guys.

Former colleagues and opponents were visibly raw with emotion as they spoke of Speed on Sunday, not just as a respected team-mate and adversary, but also as an individual who seemed to have so much to live for with his young family and a managerial career that was seemingly, despite being in its infancy, on an upward curve.

Those of us whose closest contact with Speed, who leaves a wife and two children, came some time ago can now only write about his deeds on the field and in the dugout - and he leaves a legacy that enables us to do so with great appreciation.

Speed was meticulous in his physical preparation, an advocate of the modern techniques of diet and fitness long before they became in vogue.

He was a modern, model professional off the pitch - and this approach was mirrored on it. He started his career as a left-sided midfield player and figured in an outstanding Leeds United midfield alongside Gordon Strachan, Gary McAllister and David Batty that won the title in 1992.

Speed was a creator and scorer of goals. I recall his joy at scoring that goal for his beloved Everton at Anfield. It was the realisation of a childhood dream and he carried that memory with him with great pleasure.

As he developed, he performed with equal distinction in central midfield and even at left-back, with his natural feel for the game and tactical awareness allowing him to adapt comfortably.

It was this instinct that marked him down as a manager of the future even before his playing days came to a conclusion. It was this instinct he was bringing to bear on Wales. Those players ready to make their mark at international level under Speed were grief-stricken.

Speed was a fine man and great ambassador for the game - and his death is a loss that will be felt far beyond football.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Football tends to divide,it's the nature of the game but gary speed was one of those, like and admired by all fans, a sad loss for his family.

  • Comment number 2.

    Nice blog Phil. R.I.P Gary Speed. A true legend.

  • Comment number 3.

    Very consistent as a player and well liked everywhere not least at Leeds. Sad, sad news. RIP Gary Speed.

  • Comment number 4.

    R.I.P gary speed was a wonderful underated player and doing a fine job with the wales side he will be sadly missed.

  • Comment number 5.

    Devastating news to hear this morning. What a great footballer and aspiring young coach. He also seemed a genuinely nice guy. A huge loss to his family, friends, and the Welsh side. Often footballers are presented to the public as money grabbing, party animals with few brains cells. This was never apparent in Speedo. This tragedy has demonstrated that they are just like the average person, and it's a shame we as a collective pour these cliche's upon them.

  • Comment number 6.

    RIP

  • Comment number 7.

    Words can't describe how much Gary Speed will be missed by not only a sport but a nation as a whole. Gary...you will be badly missed but never forgotten by the whole country. CYMRU AM BYTH!!

  • Comment number 8.

    Some of us may have some disagreements on these blogs, but we're all football fans and, above all else, human beings.

    This is a tragic piece of news.

    RIP Gary Speed. :(

  • Comment number 9.

    Very very sad news today, upon hearing the untimely death of one of footballs good guys. Gary was a true professional from a better era, and seemed a gentleman off and on the field. He was a player that other teams feared, as he would always give 100%, and was always good finisher. Prayers to the family R.I.P.

  • Comment number 10.

    Yep, that aerial threat. As a Man Utd fan I always dreaded set pieces with GS in and around the box. Shocked and saddened.

    Although an Englishman, I feel bitterly disappointed for the Welsh fans who, for what now seems a brief moment in time, had something special to appreciate.

    That's a terrible, tragic and shocking blow even for those remote from GS's orbit.

    Suicide, depression and mental illness is becoming an increasingly disturbing facet of modern sport.

    In any event, I always respected Gary Speed. There aren't really sports stars of whom I can say that. And of course, a very fine midfielder.

    RIP Gary Speed.

  • Comment number 11.

    Very sad news for football as a whole and for the Welsh national team in particular. Tragic for his family and friends.

    RIP

  • Comment number 12.

    This is very sad. My brother called me this morning with the news (I live in the USA)(My brother being a life long Leeds fan, following Leeds all over the world). Gary Speed a model, honest professional, a leader. My heart and prayers go out too his wife and family.


    RIP Gary Speed

  • Comment number 13.

    It is heartwarming to see fans of all clubs and countries come together to mourn the loss of such a vibrant and influential player. His short time in management with Wales showed that he had the makings of a very good manager. The development of Wales in recent months showed emerging talent.

    So many fitting tributes coming in from everywhere and Speed stands shoulder to shoulder with the great Sir Bobby Robson as one of the game's true gentlemen. RIP Gary :(

  • Comment number 14.

    A very fine tribute - thank you.

    I hope and trust that his family will be allowed to grieve in privacy.

    Rest in Peace.

  • Comment number 15.

    Hugely shocking and saddening news. RIP Gary Speed.

  • Comment number 16.

    I find the whole thing terrible, what makes someone go through that though when only 12-15 hours he was chatty and joking with Robbie Savage. A great midfielder who gave 100% each game but my heart goes out to his family

  • Comment number 17.

    Very, very sad. One of the good guys.

  • Comment number 18.

    Very sad , it's tragic that depression is still a taboo issue.

  • Comment number 19.

    The question is why?? People don't just hang themselves for no reason. I hope the truth will be revealed and his family and all those who adored him will have some closure.

  • Comment number 20.

    A Football Fans man that was Gary - He was never arrogant, never made out he was something special - he just played the game we all love and played it with a smile. He related to all fans and the fans related to him....Never loathed and always loved ....Gary it was a privelage and a honour to see you play for NUFC may you RIP...Heaven may have a great guy but down here we have lost a great guy also and for that this world is a sadder place. God Bless you Gary & thank you for the happiness you brought me.

  • Comment number 21.

    A very nice tribute Phil. I was starting to become familiar with the good things that he was doing with Wales, and his death has come as quite a shock...

  • Comment number 22.

    To me it feels hugely sad that someone described as a family man and model professional hasn't found the help he needs to treat an illness so serious that he was inclined to take his own life. Such a tragic waste.

  • Comment number 23.

    As a Man United fan, I remember what a thorn in our side Gary Speed was. We'd have loved him making those late runs into the box for us and the far post headers. Super player, he came over as a dignified gentleman, a very impressive figure with a great future ahead in management - even possibly at OT. Was doing a great job with the Welsh boys and a super example in professional football. God bless you Gary, RIP.

  • Comment number 24.

    I simply cannot understand why a human being with such a successful career and clearly one who had so much to live for would do such a thing. A very sad day.

    RIP Gary.

  • Comment number 25.

    RIP Gary. What a shame, what a world.

  • Comment number 26.

    Such a nice man, a great player and destined to do great things with Wales. As an Ireland and Arsenal fan he was one of those players that you were delighted to have the pleasure to watch against your team. Sincerest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. An immense sense of loss.

  • Comment number 27.

    Truly a shock

    Been a constant visible figure through my years of growing up watching PL.

    A very good and respectable player as was starting to make Wales into a good competent footballing team as well. Came across well on and off the pitch.

    Ditto on that aerial threat of his. Coming into the box from out of nowhere. Very reliable player he was.

    RIP Speedo

  • Comment number 28.

    RIP Gary Speed. Just listened to Robbie Savage on 606. Great tribute.

  • Comment number 29.

    Gary Speed was everything you want from a footballer - professional, decent, hardworking, honest, approachable and also talented. Yes, he was a midfield engine room type of player, but he could run with a ball, he could spray a pass and he could hit the thing. This is just such tragic news.

    For people like me (I'm 27 next week) - members of the Premiership generation who remember little before the Premier League but have lived everything that followed - Gary Speed was something of an icon. He was there at the start and, perhaps only accompanied by Ryan Giggs, was almost synonymous with our football experience. We grew up with Speed and I guess we felt like he'd always be there...

    It's a tragedy for Welsh football. The progress being made under Speed was utterly remarkable. He was picking them up of the floor and the heartbreakingly baffling thing is that he seemed to have a long-term vision for them.

    A sad, sad day.

  • Comment number 30.

    One of very few footballers that no one had a bad word to say about. A mainstay in the football leagues for most of my time watching and terribly sad he won't have the chance to take his Wales team on.

    Condolences to his family and friends.

    RIP Gary Speed.

  • Comment number 31.

    Genuinely gutted. The man was a footballing legend. Great player and on the verge of greatness as a manager. Can't believe that he has gone. Just goes to show you can never tell how someone truly is.

    RIP.

  • Comment number 32.

    The teenage years, and in your 20s and 30s - you play football, get married and have happy life. So the 40th year and onward ought to be the turning of a new leaf in life, not the ending of it. Very baffling, isn't it?... but RIP Gary, you made many friends and they are broken-hearted to hear of your leaving. . . .

  • Comment number 33.

    I hope that when the time is right that football will be able to discuss with appropriate decorum why this happened. To learn the lessons which need to be learned.........

    For now, it is a tragedy for his family, for the team that he managed and for all those who worked with him and knew him.

  • Comment number 34.

    I just don't understand it. I hear so many theories, so much speculation, but none of it makes sense. Why..?
    As many have mentioned, a very well respected and liked person, and an example to all as player, manager and person. Rest In Peace.

  • Comment number 35.

    First class blog Phil - just can't imagine how his family are feeling; a complete shock to the system when I heard the news & I have never had the privilege of meeting the man

    He will be missed & my deepest condolences to the family; RIP

  • Comment number 36.

    As a Welsh man that also follows Bolton, I was lucky enough to see the best of Gary Speed. So sad. I hope the tabloids leave his family alone and don't go looking for a story. He was a dignified man and should be allowed to rest in peace with the same dignity. Football fans will not forgive any paper that tries to sully his memory.

  • Comment number 37.

    I can't remember my heart sinking so much after hearing about the death of someone who I have no affilliation with. I didn't support any of the teams he played for. I'm not Welsh. But when I heard the news I just couldn't believe it - He was just such a top bloke and a huge icon for the premiership. Such a breath of fresh air from the money-grabbing footballers around now.

    I hope his family can get some peace, but unfortunately with some of the hounding reporters who will want to find out why he hung himself, I doubt this will happen. Most people will go through some sort of depression in their lives, it is just such a shame that no-one could help him.

    The one minute silence that turned to applause and chanting of his name just summed up the Footballing world's admiration for him. RIP Speedo

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    I think a lot of the disbelief at this will continue until the full story comes out.

    You have to take your hat off to Liverpool fans for the respect they showed towards a former Evertonian. As idiotic as football fans can prove themselves to be, that shows the mark of how this man was thought off.

    RIP

  • Comment number 40.

    Rest easy bluenose. May god usher you through the gates of St Peter with one arm and cradle your wife and boys in the other.

  • Comment number 41.

    bdyke04 - Go take your religious beliefs and naff off. He was a role model for his whole life. You have NO IDEA what made him take his own life. To say he shouldn't be honoured because of your backward beliefs is beyond ridiculous and completely narrow minded.

    I feel awful for what he has put his family through and do not agree with someone taking their own life, but as an individual I have compassion that whatever he was going through must have been terrible. I, like any decent football fan or otherwise will honour him for being a great man.

  • Comment number 42.

    we love you gary, we do,
    we love you gary, we do,
    we love you gary, we do,
    oh, gary we love you.

    RIP, we miss you and you won't be forgotten

  • Comment number 43.

    Goes to show how someone can hide the worst depression from just about everyone else.

    When the German referee attempted suicide I knew there was another shoe to drop. It's increasingly well-known in psychology that human beings copy behavior from each other to an "insane" degree, even in matters of life and death.

    It's disturbing to read, even to this date, the lack of warnings on stories on Speed. The high profile of this tragedy may only serve as the wrong example for others. I can only hope that journalists start getting educated--and educating others--about this phenomenon.

  • Comment number 44.

    Devastating to his friends and family. Football and particularly Welsh football will recover. Families never do......

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    Still can't get my head around it so sorry for his family my thoughts are with them at this awful time

  • Comment number 47.

    What a loss ! Gary will be missed. Farewell.
    Wishing strength and courage to all his loved ones.


    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 48.

    He was obviously a man with a secret or a man who discovered a secret. Whatever secret it was, it must have been a severe secret, because it meant him leaving his two kids behind and that is not an easy decision.

  • Comment number 49.

    REF 48

    This secret you seem to refer to .... For someone to leave 2 kids and a devoted wife behind is certainly not an easy decision.....

  • Comment number 50.

    As a Welshman he was always a player I was incredibly proud of whenever he pulled on the shirt, and he was always a consummate professional that any fan would have loved to have in their team. He's got the Wales team playing with a passion that hasn't been seen since the 2004 qualifying campaign and was really going places. The biggest testament to him was that players like Bellamy, Bale and Ramsey were generally desperate to play for him, something that Wales haven't had for years

    All his problems will undoubtedly be speculated about and eventually become clearer but this is not the time for talking about his actions. A great player, a fantastic coach and a wonderful man will be missed.

  • Comment number 51.

    When I heard the news it was like they were talking about someone I knew. My first thought was what a nice guy he was. Its strange, how I can instinctively know that about somebody I have never met.

    RIP Gary. Thanks for the memories.

  • Comment number 52.

    Felt numb when I heard the terrible news and still can't believe it. I hope that his family's privacy will now be respected. RIP Gary Speed.

  • Comment number 53.

    Genuinely proud to be a football fan after watching the emotion and respect shown from the Swansea and Villa fans, Robbie and Shay.

    We lost Phil O' Donnell a few years ago up here and events like this bring it all into perspective. It makes me sick to think how Tevez harps on about his depression and yet Shaw plays through that today. One Given is worth a million Tevez's.

  • Comment number 54.

    Thanks to you all for adding your heartfelt tributes to Gary Speed here. There really isn't much more I can add other than to say that while the greatest sense of loss will of course be with his wife and family, the football community also felt a force for good in the game was lost today.

    Feel free to continue to add your tributes, thoughts and memories to Gary Speed here. Thanks again. Phil.

  • Comment number 55.

    Excellent blog, Phil. What devastating news. Gary, to all intents and purposes, seems to have been a model professional, in a game that too often seems populated by the polar opposite. Not only that, but the warmth and highest of esteem he seems to have been held in by fellow professionals, makes the loss of a genuinely fine man, all the more poignant. Quite simply, shocking.

  • Comment number 56.

    We just dont know what any individual is thinking or going through do we?-who knows what was going through his mind and his world in recent times that lead him to this,it looks like you have it all but what you just dont know-God bless to his family and I hope and pray he is at peace-flipping good player as well.

  • Comment number 57.

    Gary Speed was one of those players that everyone wanted in their side after 1992. Brilliant Top Flight player in many positions - left midfield, left back, centre back, centre midfiled, raplacing Lee Chapman as main striker. I was gutted when he joined Everton ahead of Villa in 1996 (though understandable as it was his team) and annoyed when he joined Necastle 2 years later (unbeknowing it was for the benefit of Everton at the time). Speed was the modern day football man of good ilk and persepctive. A thinking man. There are many who could take a lead from him in football like so many I could mention (Golden Generation - hah!)and who Phil (and his peers) would do well to do a bit more thinking too.

  • Comment number 58.

    This is my first ever comment on a blog on the BBC website. Just felt like I had to add my own tribute to a great player and by all accounts also a great man. Quite often even nasty people get glowing tributes as soon as they are dead but all the ones I have read and heard seem heartfelt. When I heard the news on 5live this morning I couldn't believe it, I thought there must have been a mix up and they meant someone else but no the story was repeated.

    I am 26 years old and an Arsenal fan. I remember Gary Speed (mainly at Newcastle and Bolton) being an ultra-reliable all-action midfielder who had no obvious weaknesses. you never saw him in the papers falling out of clubs or urinating in the street, and perhaps this sense of professionalism allowed him to play on for as long as he did.

    This just goes to show that to all intents and purposes someone seems fine from the outside, what's going on inside that person's head is a mystery to everyone but him/herself.

    I dont believe in heaven but I hope he's gone to a better place than this world.

    R.I.P Gary Speed

    Craig

  • Comment number 59.

    What a devastating piece of news. I'm a Chelsea fan, and so had no real affinity towards Gary Speed, but as a lot of people have mentioned, he was the sort of person you felt that you knew. A player who you would always want in your side- good tackler, passer, great in the air, could finish and had exceptional leadership qualities. A true Premiership great. One of my earliest footballing memories was from the 97-98 season where Everton beat Chelsea 3-1, and I think Gary Speed scored at least once. I remember only being about 7, but thinking what an exceptional player he was even then. When he celebrated his goal he had cuts and bruises all over his face, which says it all- he would give everything for his team, but was also a gentleman and always played fair.

    He was a man universally liked and admired by all football fans not only for his ability on the pitch, but also off it where you would never hear anything bad about him. A man who's family and friends were everything to him. His managerial career was just taking off and he undoubtedly would have been an exceptional boss. Such a tragic loss and my thoughts go out to his family, friends and anyone who knew him. Rest In Peace Gary Speed- Legend.

  • Comment number 60.

    Under Gary Speed Wales once again had a football team to be proud of, which speaks volumes for his effect on the players, as well as the country as a whole. Every time he pulled on the jersey you could see it really meant so much to him, and the whole nation was proud to have such an esteemed player at the helm. Any fan of any club he's played for must have been exceptionally proud to be represented by him.

    Such was the character of the man that you don't need to be Welsh or a fan of one of his clubs to appreciate him and mourn his sad death. A true model professional like Gary Speed is very rare and he is truly one of a kind. The testaments to his character are all extremely sincere and you can see that pundits, players and fans alike are equally shocked and hurt.

  • Comment number 61.

    A genuinely decent and honest professional who will be greatly missed by the football world and beyond. My condolences to his family and friends.

    There's only one Gary Speed... may you rest in peace x

  • Comment number 62.

    I did not know Gary Speed personally. apart from what I­ saw on Match of the Day and his interviews etc. A­ good footballer no question but someone who always­ struck me as modest, kind and considerate of others.­ These are the most important qualities, but often kind­ people suffer the most.

    My thoughts are with his­ children and family.

    Your Husband, Son and Father­ was a good person, loved by many.

  • Comment number 63.

    Sorrow for Gary, even more so for his family. I lost a sister this way, it's not just your heart & soul, it's your mind that gets torn apart. WHY. You can't spot it, don't even see it coming. It's just heartbreaking that some come to this, so clever. Yet we can't see the deep malign force, behind a lovely smile.

  • Comment number 64.

    As an Evertonian I was so happy that Gary played for us, all too briefly. More importantly, thought, I am so desperately sad that his family have lost him way too early.

  • Comment number 65.

    Still can't believe it I'm absolutely devastated. What a player and a man probanly the most underrated player of the last 20 years just wish he had played for spurs! Condolences to his family and friends RIP Gary

  • Comment number 66.

    A top, top bloke. A proper football man. He had respect of all supporters from all clubs, and the type of guy most would want in their team. Its such a shame as Wales have a very bright future ahead and with a guy like Gary, would have gone on and made some real progress. I hope the FAW, Premier League and FA honour him properly next weekend and make a real gesture. RIP Gary

  • Comment number 67.

    I came to the football page in bouyant mood this morning after playing football, and was well up for a nice day of Sunday Football. I think my initial reaction to the headlines i will never forget, i was stunned, i thought it misread it. I know i dont know him personally but i slumped and felt dazed.

    Not sure what else to say....

    Nobody should ever do this, there is always a solution. God bless his soul and and pray for his close friends and family.

  • Comment number 68.

    It's a sad day for football. He was a great player and an ultimate pro that you don't find these days. Great to hear some stories from those who have had the pleasure of meeting him. A great sportsman and human being.

    I hope for the sake of humanity, that his suicide had nothing to do with the rumours regarding to The Sun 'ousting' him.

    R.I.P

  • Comment number 69.

    Our thoughts are with the family.We can not imagine what his children are going through.

    R I P

    Depression is a curse of the strong , and it is the worst disease you can get.Celebrities like Stephen Fry and Stan collymore have helped raised awareness of this illness ,which is expected to be the second biggest killer by 2020 and we all need to raise awareness.

    http://www.who.int/mental_health/management/depression/definition/en/

  • Comment number 70.

    Absolutely shocked and devastated, not least because as a fotball fan I had had the honour of seeing him play for Leeds in the old first division and for several more clubs in the Premier League. I had always admired him as a player, great versatility and ability to slot in either at midfield or left-back. He was never a controversial figure, always loved the game, and seemed set for a great period as manager with the world being his oyster.

    This is a dreadful occurrence for football, and I think it's safe to say that an era has ended with his sad demise. I do hope his family will be given the strength by Almighty God to bear this loss with fortitude.

  • Comment number 71.

    Very sad and tragic. My thoughts go out to his family. He was respected by all around him throughout all stages of his footballing career. Wales has lost agreat manager in the making, and the world of football lost a fantastic player and his family lost an adorable father.

  • Comment number 72.

    The tributes and video for a truly respected man have been moving. But please can the BBC show a little more respect and remove the adverts prior to the clip. It really is not appropriate to show a smiling, joyful cabin crew attendent full of joy at this time. Please cut the adverts from the Gary Speed clips.

  • Comment number 73.

    R.I.P. Speedo one of the last of a disappearing breed, especially in the top echelons of football.

    Great player, but as many have already said, more importantly a decent man.
    Heartfelt condolences to his family and close friends. I too hope that they will be allwed to grieve without media intrusion.

  • Comment number 74.

    As baffling as it is tragic. His family must be absolutely beside themselves with grief but should not blame themselves.
    Depression is an invisible cloak which can be hidden from the outside world. It is unlikley anyone knew there was anything wrong.

  • Comment number 75.

    Terrible shock. A couple of the points above however are, to say the least, off the mark.
    No. 48. Secret? It seems that this was caused by depression. Depression does not need a "secret" to work on.
    No.69. Whilst mentioning two famous sufferers could also mention Marcus Trescothick. His book should be on how depression affected him should be compulory reading.
    The first hurdle to be passed is the "admitting to one's self" that there is a problem. In the world that is modern sport this is seen as a weakness where weakness isn't allowed. Actually it's the hardest and bravest thing to do.
    Hopefully the tragic waste of Gary's life will help others.
    Sincere condolences to his wife and family.
    Thanks for the memories

  • Comment number 76.

    I had the privilege to teach Gary when he was a schoolboy at Hawarden High School in the 80's he was enormously talented and an absolute joy to teach, no-one deserved success more than him, so sad.

  • Comment number 77.

    The minutes silence at Anfield was the first I heard of it and thought surely I must have heard wrong.

    He seems to have been a genuinely nice guy and nobody has a bad word to say about the man.

    RIP Gary Speed and condolences to family and friends.

  • Comment number 78.

    Sad news really..42 is that an age to die. Nope it should'nt be. He had a whole coaching career in front of him and from what I read in some of tributes he was a fine man till Saturday.

    And from what I have seen of him in PL, he was definetely one of the cleanest players. RIP Gary Speed.

  • Comment number 79.

    Words like genius and legend get used way too much in this day and age however, in Gary Speed not only has the game lost a true legend who wherever he played never gave anythig less than 100% but his friends and most importantly his family have lost a genuiely down to earth, honest and decent man.

    RIP Gary, my thoughts are with your family and friends.

  • Comment number 80.

    RIP Speedo

  • Comment number 81.

    From a professional career point of view he always made a strong case for being in the team of the season.

    From a football fans point of view you always wanted him in your fantasy football team.

    In the world of celebrity footballers he always seemed a guy who was believed himself lucky to be playing football for a living. RIP Gary Speed

  • Comment number 82.

    As with many others, i was completely stunned when i heard the news of Gary Speed's sudden death and quite honestly struggled to believe it.

    It seemed even more unbeliveable as I had only been watching him sat next to Gary McAllister on the TV the day before, prevoking memories of that fantastic Leeds midfield of the late 80's and early 90's. Speed, McAllister, Batty & Strachan - they don't come much better.

    What is so desperately sad about this is that Gary couldn't find someone to share whatever concerns and worries he had. I can only hope he has found peace.

    Thanks for the memories Gary, you will be missed.

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    If any good at all can come our this terrible loss of life it might be , when the dust has settled and the truth revealed, a further awareness of the state called depression. Gary's pain must have been very great and hurting him so much. On the outside he was the good looking, amusing, consummate professional but inside that vile "worm" must have been eating a way at his mind. Give his family privacy. My thoughts are with them all; they have a long road to ahead.

  • Comment number 85.

    Like many others on here have said, I can't say I knew Gary Speed the man beyond the interviews and other various media appearances he gave. But he struck me as the sort of guy who would have conducted himself the exact same way had he'd been a coal miner, salesman or whatever else instead of a footballer. And what an underappreciated footballer he was. He was never going to appear on the Ball D'Or shortlist but solid, realiable, never looked like he was just there for a pay cheque. The fact the rival fans never said anything bad about him says it all. He got on with is business without any of the hoopla or self promotion most modern Premier League footballers seem to get trapped in, so much so that I remember him being a question in a pub quiz back in my university days - who is the player with the highest number of Premier League appearances? Just goes to show how well he looked after himself, and how modestly he conducted himself that most people (including me) didn't know the answer.

  • Comment number 86.

    condolences to the family. sad news.

  • Comment number 87.

    RIP Gary Speed. I've never been so upset over the death of somone I'd never met. He was just a great great man. All the tributes being paid to him are putting a lump in my throat each time.

  • Comment number 88.

    Speed was in my mind the type of player that meant the owners had added to your club rather than taken something away, the type of player you sometimes didn't notice until they weren't there and give the fact he was first PL player to get 500 games up meant he was there most times.

    Depression is a funny thing [no joke intended] and if the comments of Joy Division members before Ian Curtis died are anything to go by, then maybe the reason he was so outgoing and happy on Saturday's FF was that he knew what was going to happen.

    I hope that his wife and children are given the support they'll now require to sort out what must be going on right now.

  • Comment number 89.

    Always found Speed came across as a bit morose tbh. Never met the man though so obviously wouldn't wish to patronise his memory with empty platitudes on an internet blog based on what I saw in the false glare of the odd two minute post-match interview etc

    What I would say is that I saw Speed in that Leeds side at Old Trafford in the Autumn of 91 and their midfield was too good for us that day. We ended up with Phelan on the right wing iirc and had to bombard their goal just to scramble a Bryan Robson equaliser. Seem to remember both Speed and Ryan Giggs going clean through on goal and both fluffing their lines! Both of them went on to be not too bad from there though.

    As he was a dedicated football man I'm sure he wouldn't mind me adding an aside about this weekend's games. No doubt he enjoyed Newcastle's scrambled draw in Manchester if he was watching, but from my point of view that was a clear let off for City who were always highly likely to drop points at Anfield - United will be kicking themselves this morning...

    ...which reminds me of Gary Speed in the 1999 FA Cup final doing Roy Keane and putting him out of the final inside 10 minutes. He could mix it with the best midfielders in the league at his best, including putting in a reducer. You could say he was a bit unlucky that Sheringham took Keane's place and scored inside 2 minutes but there you go. If Newcastle had actually won then that tackle would've been a legend in its own right. By the looks of things Speed's memory won't be short of tales of legend from those who followed his career though, so...

  • Comment number 90.

    A true giant amongst men and a legend of the game, from playing to coaching and all inbetween.

    Football and the world have lost someone special. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

    RIP Gary Speed.

  • Comment number 91.

    i was shocked to hear the sad news yesterday morning. I had the honour of watching Speedo both play for and manage Wales and we will truly miss you.

    The world of football has lost a true great. A model professional, extra-ordinary talent and a guide for the younger players trying to make the grade.

    The world has also lost a great man. From seeing his interviews and tv appearances its not hard to see how kind and gentle, and how smart and funny his is.

    My heartfelt condolences go out to Gary's friends, family, fans and colleagues.

    RIP Gary Speed

  • Comment number 92.

    My first post on 606 in around 7 years.

    Heart broken too hear the news yesterday morning, the guy was a legend on and off the pitch for me as a kid. RIP Speedo Forever to be remembered.

  • Comment number 93.

    I had the pleasure of watching Gary Speed play in the Leeds title winning team. He was a great, great footballer.

  • Comment number 94.

    This is so sad, I was watching Football Focus on Saturday, he looked and sounded just fine. Something in his life must have been so very wrong for him to take that course of action... what a waste of a really good man!! His poor family, I can't even imaging what they are going through now! R.I.P. Gary Speed.

  • Comment number 95.

    It is a sad time when someone so liked and respected aparently takes their own life. Whatever the reason, I doubt it will tarnish his memory.

    Rest in peace, Mr Speed. I didn't know you, but you will definately be missed by everyone that did.

  • Comment number 96.

    Some people like to point out how much players and managers earn, but seem to forget that footballers are only wealthy on a material level. They are just as liable to suffer from emotional and personal problems as anyone else.

    It really is tragic that someone could be that gripped by the depths of despair. Poor chap.

    RIP :(

  • Comment number 97.

    I had the great pleasue to spend some time in Gary Speed's company down in Cardiff some 10 years ago.
    All I can say is that from the very brief time I was with him, every good thing people have been saying about him is true.
    From the little time I chatted with him he came accross as a genuinely nice guy, a true gent, very down to earth.
    Up until that day I'd heard all the same things said about Gary Speed - the model pro & that nobody had a bad word to say about him. Meeting him in the flesh just confirmed that all this was true about him.

    Like many have said, I have never been so genuinely moved and saddened by the death of someone outside my circle of friends and family.

    A sad loss for the world of football, but he was also a truely nice guy. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

    Very sad, yes especially for his young family.However if what they are saying is true, that he took his own life,then sad as it is it was his decision for whatever reason. He had a choice. Watching the emotional Minutes silence/applause at the Liverpool match yesterday which was for the young son of one of the Liverpool Goalkeepers who recently died of leaukemia as well lets not forget this lad had no choice.

  • Comment number 100.

    My sister died two weeks ago at the age of 46 to a 7 year cancer battle . To be told your sister has 24 hours to live and have to watch her die knowing you cannot do anything to help her makes what speed has done very selfish .

    No sympathy for him at all , feel for his parents , wife and mostly his kids .

 

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