Footballing world pays tribute to Gary Speed

 

Former player Iwan Roberts, ex-Wales manager Bobby Gould and Swansea City fans were shocked by the news.

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Figures from across the world of football have paid tribute to Wales national team manager Gary Speed after he was found dead at his Chester home.

Cheshire Police found him dead at 0708 GMT at his home in Huntington. Sources said the 42-year-old was found hanged.

Alan Shearer said he would "miss him dreadfully" and Ryan Giggs said he was "one of the nicest men in football".

Welsh and English politicians also paid tribute, with First Minister Carwyn Jones saying he was "deeply saddened".

Start Quote

Gary was a magnificent person... he lit up every room he walked into”

End Quote Alan Shearer Former Newcastle teammate

Within minutes of the news of his death emerging, colleagues and public figures began to pay tribute to Speed.

Former Wales teammate Giggs said: "I am totally devastated. Gary Speed was one of the nicest men in football and someone I am honoured to call a team-mate and friend.

"It goes without saying my thoughts are with his family at this tremendously sad time."

Another of Speed's former Wales teammate, Robbie Savage, tweeted: "The world has lost a great man in Gary speed I'm devastated spoke to him yesterday morning why ! Why. Why !! I'll miss him so much x

Gary Speed playing for Wales, watched by Robbie Savage (picture: Allspot/Getty) Speed made a record 85 appearances for his country

"He come to watch strictly [Strictly Come Dancing] 3/4 weeks ago I high fived him in the front row he loved the show ,he loved life he loved his family ! Devastated".

Alan Shearer, who played alongside Speed at Newcastle for six years between 1998 and 2004, said: "Gary was a magnificent person, bright, fun and a wonderful family man. He lit up every room he walked into.

"I am proud to have been his friend and will miss him dreadfully."

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish released Welsh international striker Craig Bellamy from his squad for Sunday's match against Manchester City, saying Bellamy "was very, very close to Gary".

Cheshire Police were informed of a sudden death early on Sunday morning and found Speed dead at the property.

The force said Speed's next-of-kin confirmed his identity and that his family wanted to be "left in peace to grieve at this difficult time".

A statement added there were no suspicious circumstances and the death is now being dealt with by a coroner.

Speed, born in Mancot, Flintshire, had appeared on BBC1's Football Focus show on Saturday afternoon, just hours before his death.

Robbie Savage reflects on his memories of friend and former team-mate, Gary Speed

He began his playing career at Leeds United after coming through the trainee ranks, and was part of the side that won the last Football League title in 1992, before the introduction of the Premier League.

A Leeds spokesman said the club was "stunned and saddened" by the news.

He left Leeds in 1996 after 312 appearances to join Everton - whom he went on to captain - in a £3.5m move

Newcastle followed, in a £5.5m switch in 1998. During his six years with the Magpies, he suffered two FA Cup final defeats, but enjoyed a taste of Champions League football.

He then spent four years with Bolton Wanderers after agreeing a £750,000 move and finished his playing career at Sheffield United, retiring at the end of the 2009-2010 season.

Speed, who was the first player to reach 500 Premier League appearances, also won 85 caps for his country - a record for an outfield player.

He made his international debut as a 20-year-old in the 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica in May 1990 and his final appearance for Wales was in a 3-2 World Cup qualifying defeat against Poland in October 2004. He captained his country 44 times and scored seven goals.

He took over the Wales job in December 2010, despite having just four months' managerial experience, but the team had started to make impressive progress under his stewardship.

A 4-1 friendly win over Norway earlier this month represented a third successive win for Wales, and Speed's fifth in 10 games as manager.

At the time, he said: "We've progressed further than I'd have thought in this space of time but we've still got a lot of work to do."

In the 2010 Birthday Honours list, Speed was awarded the MBE. He leaves a wife and two children.

First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said he was deeply saddened, adding: "This is devastating news and our thoughts are with his family at what must be a very difficult time for them."

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said: "This is a sad day for football and for everyone in Wales. Gary Speed served club and country as a player and manager with great distinction."

Andrew RT Davies, Welsh Conservative leader, said he and millions of others "will always remember him as a legend in the game of football".

Welsh Liberal Democrats leader, Kirsty Williams, described the death as a "tragedy for the Speed family and a tragedy for Welsh football."

Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said the "whole nation is in shock."

"He will never be forgotten," he added.

Other politicians paid their respects, with a Downing Street spokesman saying: "The prime minister was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Gary Speed, who was greatly respected by football fans across the country both as a player and manager.

"The prime minister's thoughts are with his family and friends on this very sad day for fans everywhere, especially in Wales."

Labour leader Ed Miliband tweeted: "Tragic and shocking news about Gary Speed. Fantastic servant of Leeds. Mourned by football. Deepest condolences to his family."

A spokesman for BBC Sport said: "The news of Gary's death is a huge shock. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his friends and family at this incredibly sad time."

A statement from the Welsh Rugby Union said: "Wales has lost a great sportsman, a true gentleman and a man who was working extremely hard and succeeding to deliver a bright future for Welsh football."

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 21.

    A tragic loss, so sad someone so young no one knows what goes on in peoples minds. God bless R.I.P gary you gave a lot of people pleasure, x x

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 20.

    So saddened to hear of Gary Speed's untimely death. You will be sorely missed, not only by fans of those clubs for whom you played but by true football fans everywhere. Even more so by those other people whose lives you touched and brought happiness to. It shouldn't have ended this way. Deepest condolences to all your family.

  • Comment number 19.

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

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 18.

    Such a Great Loss! Gary, I,m so so sorry you were in some kind of Pain may you now be at peace! As for The Family & Close Friends We,ll be praying for you as you try to get through this incrediably traumatic time! Love & Light be with you All xxxx

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 17.

    Robbie Savage I am proud of you. Totally gutted about Gary; just feel now for his family. RIP Leeds legend.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 16.

    Gary Speed gave 100%, 100% of the time, for Bolton Wanderers. Speedo played in our most successful team of the last 50 years and it is deeply saddening to hear of his death. Rest in peace, Gary - you provided us with some fantastic memories at the Reebok.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 15.

    No one knows what made Gary choose to take his own life and I'm devastated at the loss. Just wish i could have told him how much myself and others were in awe of him as a player and a man.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 14.

    A player I had seen play for Newcastle, one of the best. Sad to know he has taken this step. Just goes to show, the personal turmoils some face become too much. RIP Gary Speed.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 13.

    Gary Speed. made the beautiful game, beautiful. Sadly missed LUFC

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    Like many others I watched football focus yesterday and it just seems shocking that the same man who was on that show, went on to take his own life a few hours later. It's such a tragedy for him and his family and also goes to show how deceptive and dangerous any mental health issue can be to any of us. RIP.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 11.

    Shocking news. Sympathy to his family.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 10.

    Very sad news and may Gary rest in piece, something which his family will be unable to do for quite a while. As shocking as this news is, it really does make one wonder what makes someone take the decision to end their own life. Is it a brave or selfish man that commits suicide? Please let's not delve into the minds and psyche of the ex-sportsman for answers for this is about life, not football.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 9.

    I grew up watching the likes of Gary Speed and other premier league legends. I could talk for hours about his qualities, but suffice it to say he was a good and decent man, and he'll be missed by many.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 8.

    A Sad Loss To The Football World

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 7.

    My immediate reaction was "What Oh No!!" Condolences to his wife, children and other family. I only knew you through football and I always knew you as a great player, will miss your input to the game but its just such a shame your gone. I hope his family are give the privacy to grieve - suicide is hard enough to deal with, without the world wanting to know why. God Bless and rest in peace.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 6.

    Football is a passionate and partisan game. I don't support any of the clubs Gary Speed played for but my feeling of loss and grief is as deep as any I can remember in such cases.
    He was a model footballer who stuck with it with dedication and humility. He was just turning the Wales team around and could look forward to a bright future career.
    It is such a tragic loss for football and his family

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 5.

    Truly sorry to hear of Mr Speeds death.

    Let us hope the media allow his family and friends to grieve and come to terms with this loss without intrusion.

    Rest in Peace Mr Speed, condolences to your family and friends.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 4.

    I had vaguely heard of Gary Speed ... just remember seeing him on TV once or twice. BUT, in spite of not knowing him, I am totally shocked at the loss of someone who seemed to have everything going for him; someone so respected and so successful; someone so young.
    I cannot begin to understand how his family and friends are feeling.
    And I don't think this is a forum for people to give out votes.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 3.

    Unbelieveable!!! This is such sad news for the world of football, it was only yesterday that I saw him on the telly, and now this. RIP Gary, so young, so sad, such a shame.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 2.

    RIP Gary.

    Newcastle legend.

    The football world will miss you greatly.

    My thoughts are with your family and friends in this time of great sorrow.

    You will be missed.

    RIP

 

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