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 161.

    have been in shock all day over this. he really was a really nice guy, fantastic player and possibly going to be one of the top managers.
    I have been disgusted though by the amount of ppl slagging him off calling him selfish. I really don't want to know the reasons why he did it; those should be buried with him, but ppl shouldn't slag him off if they don't know why he did it.
    RIP gary, sleep well

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 160.

    As a life-long Wales supporter, I am so sorry that Gary is no longer with us. When he played for us, he played with pride, passion and dedication and as our manager he instilled the same doctrine into the players who responded to such a great role model. R.I.P. Speedo.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 159.

    I am proud to have witnessed Gary Speed and his unbelievable talent he brought to Bolton. He wore his heart on his sleeve and displayed a true passion for the game through thick and thin. My thoughts are with his family at this shocking time. Today football has suffered the loss of an outstanding player. Gone but never forgotten. May you rest in peace Gary.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 158.

    Gary should be immortalized by the Welsh FA.It's remarkable for a man to make the achievements he made as national team manager with just four months of managerial experience.I grew up hearing his name,'Speed'.He was just good in his right.I'll miss him.Wales was beginning to catch my eye under his stewardship.May his soul rest in peace.We'll all miss you,Gary.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 157.

    So shocked by this - no words to say. However perhaps each of us could look to do something to try to save someone else from the tragedy of suicide - So in the morning I'm going to contact Positive Choices Wales to see what I can do to make a difference to someone else feeling desperate.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 156.

    baggy LUFC watched Gary as a player for Leeds he was a true legend for the club. fantastic player and a true Welshman, he brought belief back to the welsh side as a great welsh manager. my condolences to his family. rip Gary.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 155.

    Like most people I was shocked by the news this morning, especially having watched him on Football Focus only yesterday. As a Newcastle player he was a real worker, a positive role-model and, although I never met him, an all round nice guy.

    I don't know his wife, kids or family but would like to wish them well and send my love and condolences in what must be an unexpectedly sad time for you. X

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 154.

    Disappointed that the video of the magnificent PUBLIC tribute at Swansea was pulled down.
    Odd sense of values, there, by the football club claiming to "own" the rights..

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 153.

    In response to those who feel that this tragic event doesn't deserve as much coverage as the people who die fighting in wars, this is exactly the kind of story that should be in the news. The stigma and myths surrounding mental health issues and suicide is something that needs to be addressed. People should be able to talk about these issues without fear of being labelled weak or selfish.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 152.

    I don't know what to say. I have written, deleted and written again but words do not seem adequate to describe how sad this all is. Why?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 151.

    An incredible professional, wonderful role-model and such a sad loss. If only there were more like Gary in football. Rest in Peace and thoughts with your family at this sad time

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 150.

    Those poor children, his poor widow.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 149.

    @ 123 Talbotson.

    Well said sir or madam.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 148.

    Complete shock and deep sadness. A great player for us at Newcastle. Why Gary? Prayers for you and your family. Thank you for some great memories. Rest in peace.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 147.

    Does one have to say "RIP" in order to get their comment published?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 146.

    Rest in peace Gary Speed. I am a football fan & someone who has suffered from clinical depression for many years. We all have faces we show to the world, my mask has now slipped but there is still a lack of understanding, especially within families. It isn`t that easy to get proper professional help, I`ve tried for years.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 145.

    Of the memories of Gary Speed the one I remember the most and shows how genuine a person he was is his 1st match at St James after he left . He came on the field and greeted all the ground staff with a shake of the hands and a chat. At the full time whistle he ran over to the Newcastle supporters and gave them his shirt to the sound of 'their is only 1 Gary Speed' , A legend of the terraces

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 144.

    Gary, why oh why, you were so respected and a real icon for the kids of the future. Big loss. You had your reasons so let them rest with you. Sleep well and know that you were loved more than you will know.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 143.

    Shocked and saddened just does not cover it. One of my favourite non-stoke city players, always so consistent and committed, not to mention talented, but always seemed a down-to-earth,ordinary kind of bloke.
    You will be sadly missed by the football world in general,and I know I speak for all Stoke fans in offering our sincere condolences to family and friends.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 142.

    leeds legend! you were such a good player for leeds and you were so successfull in youur life. R I P gary speed.

 

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