Wales

Gary Speed: Kelly Jones honoured at funeral song choice

  • 8 December 2011
  • From the section Wales

Stereophonics singer Kelly Jones says he is honoured Gary Speed's widow chose his version of an unofficial Welsh football anthem to be played at his funeral.

Jones re-worked Andy Williams' 1968 hit Can't Take My Eyes Off You as his personal tribute to Speed.

The song was adopted by supporters after a BBC Wales promotion for the 1994 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Speed's private funeral will take place in Flintshire on Friday.

The Wales team - which featured Speed - narrowly missed out on a place in the 1994 World Cup in the USA.

But the promotional song has been a staple for Wales fans ever since.

Jones' acoustic guitar rendition first aired as part of BBC Wales' Sport Wales tribute programme last week.

'A great man'

It has since received almost 13,000 YouTube hits.

Gary Speed managed Wales for just under a year and had turned around their fortunes

BBC Wales said that it was pleased to give Speed's widow, Louise, permission for the Sport Wales arrangement to be played at his funeral.

Jones said: "It is a great honour. I hope the song is a fitting tribute to a great man."

He added: "He was a very nice man, a good-looking fella.

"I was with my two daughters at the Millennium Stadium after the England v Wales international.

"We were waiting at the lift and Gary ended his phone conversation and shook my hand. We had a chat about the game and shared the lift to the ground floor.

"I was consumed the whole day when I heard the news. I couldn't get my head around it."

Speed, 42, was found dead at his home in Cheshire on 27 November.

Family and friends are due to hold a private ceremony, with a public celebration of Speed's life to follow at a later date.

His family said donations will go to Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres, a charity for which Speed's Wales team-mate, former-striker John Hartson, is a patron.

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