Wales football manager Gary Speed died at his home in Chester early on Sunday 27th November, 2011. The news began to filter through to the media around midday with a total shock and disbelief surrounding it.
Unfortunately it was all true and the 42 year old was found hanged hours after his last appearance on the BBC football programme ‘Football Focus’
I was totally immersed in the rolling news coverage and couldn’t believe how affected I was by this story even though I’ve never met him or knew much about him. The whole story was totally hard to comprehend.
It was even worse trying to watch professional football players and commentators try and bring us this news which was also hugely affecting them aswell.
Robbie Savage was reeled out into the BBC News studios and Sky Sports News reporter Bryn Law was live at Elland Road – both of the emotional videos are below.
One thing that Gary Speed seemed to do was to totally unite the footballing world with his passion and true professionalism – he even gave the national Welsh team a few decent wins under his reign! Tributes have been paid to him from throughout the football fraternity with flowers and flags being laid at stadia all around Britain including the Millennium Stadium.
Gary Speed managed the Wales national team’s last win over Norway 4 – 1 at the Cardiff City Stadium on November 12th, 2011. Fans have since paid tribute to him by leaving flowers, shirts and flags at the Ninian Park gates outside. The feeling was that Speed was beginning to turn the team around after getting four wins in the last few games where he was starting to win back the missing fans and helping to provide real optimism, impetus and momentum for the national side.
A few days since this news broke and Cardiff City were in Carling Cup action against Premiership side Blackburn Rovers to a packed 19,436 crowd at The Cardiff City Stadium. There was a lot of emotion with fans turning up in Wales shirts, scarfs and dedicated flags and tributes. First up there was a minutes applause then it was followed by a minute’s silence. (A few people thought it was appropriate to applaud again but the silence took over and made this a very moving moment) A Welsh flag was then laid on the pitch with both managers laying wreaths paying their own respects.
During the game there were many chants of “This ones for Speedo” and “There’s only one Gary Speed” and as a more fitting tribute Cardiff beat Blackburn 2 – 0 putting them through to the Carling Cup semi finals – their best performance since 1966!
Gary Speed you will be sorely missed.