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By website-sport on 29.11.2023

Football shocked by death of Gary Speed

The world of football continues to mourn the death of Wales manager Gary speed after he was found dead in his home on Sunday morning.

For many football followers their last glimpse of Speed would have been on Saturdays Football Focus on which he appeared relaxed and full of ambition for the future as he discussed, among other things, taking his in-form Wales side to the 2014 World cup. Hours later his death would send shockwaves and sorrow throughout the football community.

Speed’s professional career was exemplary. He was the first Premier league player to make 500 appearances playing for some of England’s most illustrious clubs.

He began his playing days at Leeds United after coming through their youth system. Here he made 312 appearances, scored 39 goals and claimed the Division one title in 1992, the year before it was re-branded the Premier League. Alongside Gordon Strachan, Gary McAllister and David Batty, Speed completed this infamous all British line up that will go down as one of English footballs all time great midfields.

In 1996 he moved to Everton where his ability and personality won him the captaincy of the club he supported as a boy. Two years, 65 appearances and 18 goals later Speed made a 5.5 million pound move to Newcastle united where 40 goals in 285 games helped his club to two FA cup finals and into the highest level of competition football: The Champions League.

His 2004 move to Bolton saw him again installed as club captain as he helped the club become an established Premier League force in one of the clubs most successful periods. Three years later he moved to Sheffield United where he finished his playing career and became manager.

His 14 year international career mirrored that of his club. After making his debut in 1990 he went on to make 85 appearances, including 44 as captain, as he became Wales’ most capped outfield player. After only four months managerial experience with Sheffield, Speed was installed as Wales manager where he was beginning to work wonders masterminding 5 out of 10 international victories, most recently a 4-1 destruction of Norway.

As a player speed will not only be remembered for his reliability, versatility or his ability to show up late in the box and bag a goal. He will be remembered for the influence and respect that he commanded. He was a model professional, a real gentleman of the game; someone that all modern footballers could do well to learn from.

Reading the hundreds, thousands, of tributes that have come from fans, politicians, pundits and players old and new you begin to understand how much of an impact Speed had made – how sad a news this really is, news that is made sadder when you consider that Speed had a lifetime of success to look forward to as he continued to inspire his young Wales squad.

To Gary Speed; a true legend of the game.

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