Gary Speed passes away aged 42 – Rest In Peace

R.I.P Gary Speed 1969-2011
Former Toon legend Gary Speed MBE has sadly passed away at the young age of 42, the FA of Wales has announced.

This is shocking news considering he was known as a phenomenally physically fit footballer, he was regarded as a model professional who lived his life the right way.

My father is a Leeds fan, so I knew about Speed from a young age and was a big fan long before he joined the Toon. He used to rave about Speed and would say: “SPEED, YOU’VE READ THE BOOK, YOU’VE SEEN THE FILM, NOW SEE THE MAN.” I’d like to add to that; “REMEMBER THE LEGEND.”

Speed was a very well balanced left footed central midfielder who would pitch in with the odd goal, knew how to pass and did not mind a tackle. He had a fantastic engine and was very reliable. You would rarely look at a Speed performance and think he had played below par. He did not get enough credit for his reliability, but that kind of player is worth their weight in gold as they are the foundations needed to build a good team.

An Everton fan as a boy, it was Leeds United who gave him his chance and he made his debut aged 19. He would go on to make 312 appearances for Leeds, scoring 57 times, playing a key role in their old Division 1 league title win in 1992 before the Premiership was formed.



He got his dream move to Everton in 1996, making 65 appearances and scoring 17 times. He joined the Toon 1n 1998 for £5.5m and would bring us to two FA Cup finals and Champions League football before leaving in 2004 after Sir Bobby told him he was no longer a regular 1st teamer. He made 284 appearances for us, scoring 40 goals. Both Sir Bobby and Gary Speed would go on to say they regretted the decision which saw him leave.

Gary went on to play for Bolton, where he became the 1st player in history to reach 500 Premiership appearances at the age of 37 – a representation of how well he looked after himself. In fact the only other player I can remember looking after himself as well as Speed would be Gianfranco Zola… He also held the record of most Premier League appearances with 535 until February 2009 when Portsmouth goalkeeper David James overtook him.

In August 2007 he would score for Bolton against Reading, making him the 1st player to score in every Premier League season to that date. The only other player to match and extend that was fellow Welsh legend Ryan Giggs.

Gary went on to play for Sheffield United before moving onto management with them. Only a few games into his managerial career he found the attraction of the Wales vacancy too good to ignore, having represented them a record 85 times as an outfield player. He has recently pulled out some fantastic results for his Country and on November 12 recorded a third win a row and fifth in seven matches in his last game in charge – a 4-1 friendly victory over Norway. There was a growing belief he was the man to finally lead Wales to a World Cup Finals for the 1st time since 1958.

He was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours List due to his contribution to football and charities. Sir Bobby called him his Marathon Man and in 2010 Speed ran the London marathon in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson foundation and the John Hartson foundation. There were many other selfless acts in aid of the needy throughout his career. He leaves behind two children and his wife, whom I’m sure we all feel extremely sorry for. On behalf of the Toon Army, I’d like to pass our condolences onto the Speed family.

There is speculation surrounding his untimely death, which seems to be linked to nervous exhaustion and a tragic outcome. However, I find it inappropriate to speculate on the specifics as it is really not important. We should remember the man as a footballing legend, a model professional and a gentleman. MG MAN has suggested the club allow the fans to pay our respect by placing tributes in and around the stadium for the great man. Hopefully this will be sanctioned for the home tie against Chelsea. I would also expect black armbands throughout the Football League and a minute’s silence.

He may not have been the flashiest of players, but he was extremely effective and influential whilst wearing our colours and his attitude towards the game and his fellow human beings made Gary Speed one of my all time favourites. His ilk are a rarity in today’s world of fast cars, nightclubs and expecting everything handed to you on a plate for minimum effort. The youngsters with attitudes like Nile Ranger etc should look at this man and feel ashamed of themselves.

Gary Speed RIP 8 September 1969 – 27 November 2011.

About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

138 thoughts on “Gary Speed passes away aged 42 – Rest In Peace

  1. Hitman I just hope that he never died in vain, and maybe now people will realise that depression etc can be a killer and not just something you shake off.
    My heart go’s out to his Family because for the rest of their life they will wonder if they had helped cause it, or was there something they could have done for him.

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  2. Absolutely shocked at this unbelievably sad news. Gary Speed was an absolutely top player who won respect wherever he played. My heart and thoughts go out to his family on this sad day. RIP Gary Speed. A footballing legend.

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  3. The extraordinary thing about him wasn’t his playing style but how consistantly reliable he was and how he went on to play so many games at the highest level, he really was a model pro.

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  4. Local to me was a young man in his early 30’s. He had a wife and two young children. He played Sport at a national level and had a supportive family around him, along with a nice well presented home. He cherished his family and appreciated his life, but suffered on and off with depression. Sometimes it was bad, but he got through it and suicide had not really been something he had contemplated.

    One evening he bathed his children, put them to bed and read them a story. He went downstairs and told his wife he was having crazy thoughts and was in a dark place, but did not tell her the true extent of it. A short time later he suddenly and tragically fallen into the darkest recesses of his mind. He was so far gone he could not bear it and his desparate wife could not help him see sense. Shortly after this he took his own life in brutal fashion.

    That man did not intend for a moment to do what he did, he did not intend for the pain his wife and children would go through. It was a mental illness that suddenly manifested itself in a powerful, all consuming, futile to resist fashion and in the briefest of moments the damage had been done.

    Suicide is rarely as straight forward as some of us may believe and it’s victims will rarely want to hurt those they leave behind, but they see no other way out.

    My heart goes out to the despair Gary Speed must have gone through and the sorrow his family and friends now feel 😥

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  5. Cannot believe how hard this actually hit me, i have been very angered by various comments on websites today as well.

    RIP Gary Speed- Gentleman, legend. and honour to the game! 😥

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  6. Shamrock > ‘That man did not intend for a moment to do what he did, he did not intend for the pain his wife and children would go through’

    Sometimes they think that they will cause their loved ones less pain and that they would be better off. without them 😕

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  7. Just hours earlier the former Leeds United and Newcastle United midfielder had appeared as a guest on BBC One’s Football Focus where he appeared in buoyant mood.

    The presenter, Dan Walker, said that off-camera at the BBC’s studios in Salford Speed had talked enthusiastically about how well his sons were developing as teenage footballers and his desire to come back on the show before Christmas. He also recorded a separate interview about his high hopes for Wales’ forthcoming World Cup qualifying campaign.

    “He was perhaps in the best mood I had seen him in yesterday, he was very bubbly,” Walker said.

    Very very sad. Just shows that things can seem alright and not be.

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  8. Spence the sad thing is that as you get older you witness it more 😥 .
    Yeah some people can come of with real shite, but I generally find that the ones that come of with crap have never been affected by it. try not to let it wind you up.

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  9. Dave, yes sometimes that is the case. This example was not. The point being mental health problems are potentially hugely powerful forces that affect the mind in ways the majority of us will never be able to even begin to comprehend or understand…

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  10. It’s even more bizarre when you consider that it appears nobody or certainly his closest friends didn’t have any idea that he had an illness that drove him to this.

    I remember actually finding someone hanging themselves abot ten years ago and the feeling I had was anger and then I felt sorry for the guy as it really isn’t the act of a sane person and the thoughts that must go through their mind is frightening.

    Very, very sad.

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  11. This is what annoys me, why argue about the cause or reason for what he did and just remember his great career and life? 😥

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  12. Batty, left a comment on the last thread.

    Wanted to keep that separate to what should just be discussion about the late, great Gary Speed. RIP son.

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  13. Spence its good to talk about causes and reasons, because it makes it less of a closed subject.
    And just maybe someone that suffers will feel like they can talk about it, because the way things are victims of depression normally feel as if they cant talk about it otherwise people will think they are wierdos and saddos 😥

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  14. Stuart….angers often the first emotion until you realise what they’ve gone through to push them to that 🙁

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  15. ide be the 1st to admit ive had problems mostley caused through drink ,your mind can play daft games with you at times horrible fckin horrible 🙁

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  16. Puts football into perspective doesn’t it?

    Most of us get so angry and pissed off with things tlabout our club and complain about changing the name of the ground etc… Then this happens and you just think, if my biggest problem is worrying about football Im not doing too bad.

    Hope it brings more attention to mental illness as it’s a real illness that doesn’t get the attention it should.

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  17. DAVE @97 you dont really know how right you are,to talk is very important
    i know as i had a very very close family member that this happened to but this is not the time to talk about it but your point is very valid,a great guy gone today god bless him,but i know this his family will feel guilty thinking what could they have done diff,belive me nothing god bless them all.

    dave your a wise guy 😉

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  18. Batty well said mate and if it helps I will be 2nd, but I have found before that some people look at you differently when you admit to suffering from depression etc,
    I will always remember my bro in law came to see me one time when I was in a very dark place, and told me that I should ‘get myself sorted out, and get up and shake it off and appreciate what I have’ 2 yrs later the same bro inlaw was in hospital after trying to take his own life, and still to this day he regrets being cruel and brutal to me, because until then he didn’t know just how bad a place depression can be.

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  19. Man oh man, Gary Speed, the poor guy, what he must have gone through. What a horrendous shock for his young family. God give them strength at this dreadful time.

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  20. Ok goodnight all. The reaction from everybody on this site today shows why this ‘community’ is such a good one. Well thought out reactions from mature people. No stupid comments… A good place to be.

    Again Gary Speed, you will always be missed and loved by Newcastle United and football in general mate. R.I.P 😥

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  21. Shamrock take it easy mate 😉

    Ice I always believe that if sharing my own experience can help others, then it is worth it even if some think less of me or think im a bit of a “nutter”

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  22. Dave…Talking to someone who understands is the best thing, me old army mate is my pressure release valve and vice versa, both been through similar shit, he knows more about me than anyone else. Had mates who didn’t feel able or willing to talk and bottled everything up, often just one outcome then.

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  23. Richie same here mate, though in my case my Lass is my pressure release valve, or if its my Lass that is the cause, my parents grave does the job 😕 . I had some mates that would try to use it against you, or would try to take the mick outta ye if they knew owt.

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  24. DJG it would maybe surprise you how many people I have came across that think you must be a ‘nutter’ to suffer from mental illness, but they are normally the type of people that I don’t have time for

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  25. DAVE your no nutter unless i am too because ime that way myself,its a illness that can strike rich man,poor man like all illness,but this one is illness that needs diff treatment ie talking and understanding ect

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  26. Yeah great write up mate, still shocked and gutted by this like, was only watching him on football focus yesterday.
    Hats off to the Swansea fans today aswell, great tribute, well deserved!
    May god bless and keep you, and the angels guide you right, rest well speedo

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  27. So how would everyone want to see him remembered on Saturday? Minutes silence? Minutes applause, or proper tribute with former team mates before the game?

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  28. Gary Speed was one of my favourite players. Shocked by what has happened. Wiped away a few tears when I read this tribute and some of the comments. Suicide is too close to home for me not to.

    RIP Gary Speed.

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  29. Very sad – found myself getting emotional – nothing more dignifying than seeing and hearing respect being given to someone + GS is being shown a lot of respect.

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  30. Great video Batty, will miss the man loads. I still have a draft for an article kicking about from him being a future manager with the series i started ages back. So sad that he’ll never return to us 😕

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  31. Nice video Batty. We gear about ‘celebrities’ dying young all the time and the news is nothing najor, but Speedo passing away has actually hit me (and the majority of th UK footballing scene) oretty hard. I grew up following this man’s career. He always stood out as he was an exceptional player who was modest with it who came across as a lovely bloke with time for anybody.

    Having followed his Leeds creer from a young age and having his poster on my wall, I was so pleased when he signed for us…Like many of you, saw him as a future Toon manager. So gutted about this. Was lay in bed last night and it actually hurt, especially after listening to Robbie Savage cry his eyes out on 5live telling his stories of this lovely bloke.

    Speedo must not have known how many hearts and lives he touched by just being a consummate professional and a gentleman… So sad. 😥

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  32. I wanted to reflect before i posted in more depth,having lost an uncle and also a friend to suicide. Also during my time in the fire brigade dealing with people who felt they had no other recourse than to take there own life,you hear some folk in tabloids calling them cowards and taking the easy way out although thankfully not on this site. We cannot comprehend the level of despair felt, that taking your life is the only way out especially by hanging, this is not quick ,it is not painless I know because my family still talk about my Uncle taking his life this way.I can understand hiding demons because i have been to that dark place called depression and i Just wish Gary could have found the courage he always displayed on the pitch to seek support from loving family and friends.Sorry if i rambled but if anyone reading this is in a dark place like Gary talk to someone.

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  33. RIP garry your time at newcastle was a special 1 my heart goes out to your 2 sons and your wife , now your up in heaven and reunited with sir bobby robson and i am sure that u r in his starting eleven ,

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