Newcastle United have confirmed a series of gestures for the weekend game with Chelsea that will give fans a perfect opportunity to remember Gary Speed.
The former United midfielder tragically died on Sunday morning with suicide appearing to be the cause. Personally, the circumstance is not important to me right now and what should come first is remembering a player who played for us for six years at the very highest level.
The club have revealed that the match programme will feature a four page tribute to Speed and will set out cards in the East Stand that will depict the number 11 – Gary Speed’s number during his time with us – to be raised whilst the famous Welsh hymn ‘Bread of Heaven’ is sung. The club will provide hymnsheets at the turnstyles so that everyone can join in. Once the hymn is finished a minute of applause will be observed.
A sell out crowd at St James’ and Sky TV will be there to witness events which will almost certainly show just how highly thought of he was at NUFC. This will coincide with a series of other tributes at every ground up and down the country ahead of what is going to be an emotionally charged weekend.
The sheer amount of comments and appraisals Speed has had since his passing has been extraordinary. From fans of Speed’s previous clubs, to fans of pretty much every other club to fellow professionals, ex-professionals, pundits and journalists, all of them have had good words to say about the man.
Shamrock wrote a very emotional and heartfelt tribute to the man, which you can read here, that pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter. I’m just glad that I’ll be there to pay my own respects on Saturday and show just how much I appreciated him, but the reality is you don’t have to be there to reflect upon the life and times of Gary Speed. It comes from the heart, from the head, the memories, wherever you happen to be.
R.I.P Gary Speed