27 November, 2011

Speed dies too fast:

Gary Speed: 8th September 1969 - 27 thNovember 2011 Rest in Peace


Close friend Shay Given in tears before playing today
Prince Charles gave Gary Speed his M.B.E. one year ago.  For football fans; Gary was also a Prince of Wales

            Wales national football team manager Gary Speed M.B.E. commited suicide this morning.  The Welsh Football Association confirmed today that Speed had hung himself at his home in Cheshire.  Cheshire Constabulary confirmed that they were not treating his death as suspicious and confirmed that his death was an apparent suicide.                        

Minute silence before Swansea v Aston Villa today
"Gary was the ultimate professional, so we will be professional now and go ahead with today's game," - Speed's local club Swansea City after news of his hanging spread           

                His boyhood club, Swansea played Aston Villa this lunch time at the Welsh city's Liberty Stadium.  A minute's silence was observed beforehand with both sides clearly affected by the news of the death of a man who was a friend of many and well known by all present.  Aston Villa and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper (and former Newcastle United team-mate) Shay Given was seen wiping tears from his eyes during the game as news of his close friend's death sank in.  Villa manager Alex McLeish confirmed that efforts had been made to postpone the game as a mark of respect to Speed.  With policing, fan and travel considerations (Swansea is a 400 mile plus round trip from Villa Park);  it was felt necessary that the game go ahead however.

"There's no way football is more important than grieving.  Craig was in awe of Gary," - Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish upon removing Craig Bellamy (left) from Liverpool's game with Man. City today      

               Liverpool play Manchester City at Anfield today with Kenny Dalglish confirming what a fantastic professional Gary Speed was;  having signed him for Newcastle United.  Dalglish also confirmed that Craig Bellamy would not feature in today's game as news of his mentor's passing (and national team manager) had hit the Cariff native hard.   "He was like family," - was all Bellamy would say publicly today.  Having retired from international football;  Speed convinced Bellamy to change his mind and return to the Welsh national team earlier this year.
Gary Speed receiving his M.B.E. in December 2010

           Speed won the First Division (now Premier League) League Title with Leeds United in the 1991-'92 season and 85 caps for the Welsh national team; 51 as captain - more than any other Welsh international.  He made 535 Premier League appearances, which was a record when he retired from playing in 2010 and has only been surpassed by Ryan Giggs and goalkeeper David James since.  Speed was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) on the Queen's 2010 New Year's Honours List.  He was appointed Wales manager in December 2010;  winning four of their last five matches and seeing them to an all-time high FIFA World ranking.  He is survived by his wife and two young sons.

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