Gary Speed: Out of a tragic death, a lasting and transformative legacy for Welsh football was born

Friday, 20 August, 2021 22comments  |  Jump to last
Daniel Storey writes:

"This year marks a decade since Speed's death. This weekend, Leeds United host Everton: Gary's first club, where he won the First Division title as a precocious and inspirational 23-year-old, against his second, the club he had supported as a boy.

“It will be an occasion of sadness as both clubs dwell on the hidden monster of mental and emotional distress and the absence of Speed in the stands, but also of gratitude for the happiness he provided to so many.

“Speed did leave a legacy. The rise of the Wales national team over the last decade is a statue to the communal spirit of their group and an association finally able to have all parts moving in the same direction, but nobody is under any illusions of who helped to make it possible.”

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Reader Comments (22)

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John McFarlane Snr
1 Posted 20/08/2021 at 16:34:55
Hi Lyndon,

I can't believe that it's 10 years since Gary Speed died, as I recall it, he appeared on the 'Football Focus Show' the day before, and there was no hint of the troubled mind that led him to take his own life. It proves to me that footballers or managers are as prone to stress as anyone, irrespective of the apparent luxurious lives that they live.

He receives my respect, because he never divulged his reason for leaving Everton, despite the many rumours that circulated. RIP Gary.

Dale Rose
2 Posted 20/08/2021 at 17:00:39
Very eloquent Mr McFarlane. He certainly took Welsh football to another level as well. Very sad.
Dennis Stevens
3 Posted 20/08/2021 at 17:06:08
Hear! Hear! John.
Dale Self
4 Posted 20/08/2021 at 17:14:14
Gary Speed was sheer class at a time when this football club needed it most. He always carried himself with utmost composure. I always take a moment when his name comes up. Well done here.
Brian Murray
5 Posted 20/08/2021 at 17:30:01
As for on the pitch. Always loved him for the first rendition of that Gerry Marsden bullshit was starting at the end of a derby until a lovely glancing header shut them up and got us a draw. Class man very much missed.
Duncan McDine
6 Posted 20/08/2021 at 18:32:35
I'll be honest, I was one of the 40,000 chanting “Gary Gary Gary Gary Shithouse Speed” when he played his first game against us for the barcodes. It was similar to the abuse Rooney got when he returned to Goodison in a Man Utd shirt.

In both cases, we were all gutted that our best players chose to leave, and what better way to express that emotion than shouting something vile!

During a pretty awful period for Everton (yes, even worse than recent years), he was our standout player, and it is a very sad story what happened in the end, especially for his family.

Danny O’Neill
7 Posted 20/08/2021 at 18:35:08
A very good player. When we signed him I genuinely thought we were on the up. Speed, Kanchelskis, Limpar and a Ferguson that was hopefully going to live up to the hype and potential.

I guess we'll never understand what caused Gary Speed to sadly take his life, but it highlights that despite the riches and seeming benefits we often accuse footballers of having, they also sacrifice much and don't enjoy the normal things many of us take for granted.

Mental Health is close to my heart. I have many friends who are impacted by their experiences and I guess I have been too. I have my dogs, they listen. It's so important to talk; don't bottle things up people.

God bless you Gary. It was great to see you play for Everton and live the dream I dreamed of. How fitting that this weekend it is Leeds v Everton. I trust the clubs will make a fitting tribute to a fine servant of the beautiful game.

Darren Hind
8 Posted 20/08/2021 at 19:11:21
There may have been 40,000 at the game but there was no way on earth they were all giving Speed abuse. Too many people had heard what had gone on and were wholly sympathetic to his situation.

It was to Speed's eternal credit that he chose not to reveal what had gone on in that dressing room. Not all who present were able to keep their lips so admirably sealed.

David Currie
9 Posted 20/08/2021 at 21:23:52
Gary Speed top player who performed well at every club he played for and did very well as manager of Wales.
Sadly missed.
Peter Mills
10 Posted 20/08/2021 at 22:51:26
Duncan#6, I’m sorry, but I’m not accepting responsibility for such chanting.
Mike Galley
11 Posted 21/08/2021 at 00:17:29
I, also, didn’t participate in the chanting. Only because I always remember the club including a confidentiality clause in the deal when Gary left. It always struck me that the club, not Gary had something to hide.
I’ve no idea what or whom it concerned, but that has always been my memory of that transfer.
Obviously, I don’t know for certain about the clause, but it was widely reported in papers, TV, etc.
Don Alexander
12 Posted 21/08/2021 at 01:27:04
Mike, there was a movie contemplated at the time called "Terry Bridge" that never actually got made. It was centred on one bastard shagging his mate's missus. Preposterous crap of course but Lawd knows why the alleged confidentiality clause was included in Gary's transfer out of the club.

RIP gentleman!

Dave Abrahams
13 Posted 21/08/2021 at 07:55:34
Let’s be honest, Gary wasn’t booed just once but every time he came back to Goodison Park. A very good player, an excellent captain and a boyhood Evertonian who gave his all to the club, he was a fine man and a dedicated sportsman, wasn’t looked after by the club when he left.
Danny O’Neill
14 Posted 21/08/2021 at 10:06:39
Reading the comments above, I suppose in reflection it shows how, that whilst we want these players to feel about Everton the way that we do, for them it is a profession. And they make professional decisions at the time. Just as we do in our own spheres of employment.

Even boyhood Evertonians like the ones mentioned; Gary Speed and Wayne Rooney. They have to be professional, separate from the personal and make career decisions.

The emotion is for us supporters.

Tony Abrahams
15 Posted 21/08/2021 at 19:37:35
A very nice tribute to a very good professional, who looked like he was going to become an even better manager than he was a player, and it was such a sad day when I heard that Speed had taken his own life.

I'm a great believer in the saying, that you reap what you sow, and through the tragedy, this is definitely what has happened to Welsh football. Gary Speed will always be the man I credit with the change in the Welsh's footballing fortune because he definitely put his country's footballers on the right lines imo. 🙏👏👏

Jack Convery
16 Posted 26/08/2021 at 13:16:46
A class footballer and a class human being. RIP.
Stephen Brown
17 Posted 26/08/2021 at 13:24:05
Gary Speed! Hero and gentleman who I’m sure would have been Everton manager one day.

I for one never speculate about the circumstances of his death out of respect !

The one ‘famous’ person who died that really hit me! RIP

Seb Niemand
18 Posted 04/09/2021 at 21:56:08
The day we lost Gary Speed was the saddest day I have known in football. A great player and a true gent and, critically, not in that order.
Jerome Shields
19 Posted 09/09/2021 at 06:35:26
Great player. RIP.
Tommy Carter
21 Posted 09/09/2021 at 07:45:54
Great professional and awesome footballer. Incredibly brave and one of the finest headers of a ball I've ever seen.

Could and should have played at a higher level I think but he did play Champions League football with Newcastle.

He probably thought, as most did that when he came to us in 1996 then we'd be progressing once more from our 6th place finish the previous season.

Peter Warren
22 Posted 09/09/2021 at 08:35:55
I simply remember him being 100% and very good in the tackle and marvellous in the air. Strangely enough whilst I recall him playing for Newcastle who had a good side, my memories of him as a footballer aside from us (Southampton, Anfield, Newcastle games) were in Leeds side who won the league and then at Bolton when I thought he excelled.

A terrific footballer. God bless him and his family.

Peter Warren
23 Posted 09/09/2021 at 08:40:35
In terms of the man, I never knew him. However he told the Echo

“You know why I'm leaving, but I can't explain myself publicly because it would damage the good name of Everton Football Club and I'm not prepared to do that.”

Whilst I support Everton, if I got treated that bad, no way I would keep quiet. You have to a knowledge what type of human being does that.

RIP Gary.

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