I'm still in utter shock, so I sincerely apologize if my choice of words are lacking in some way but I still felt I wanted to put something down.
When I saw the news via Twitter that Gary Speed had died I had to read it over a few times before I could even consider it a possibility. Not only was he a fit 42 year old, but only yesterday had he appeared so vital, talking enthusiastically as ever about the game he loved on Football Focus.
As a supporter of your chosen team you are meant to be loyal to a fault, often expected, if not encouraged, to lambaste players of the rival sides. But there are some players that nutmeg this school of thought and gain the respect and admiration of all fans and players. Speed played for many teams during his lengthy playing career, but I particularly remember watching his time at Newcastle.He always appeared to be a grafter, and according to tributes from ex-colleagues and room mates he was always the guy to put in the extra hours at the gym and be doing press ups before bed.
Aside from showcasing his winning smile and impressive knowledge on the likes of A Questions Of Sport he never appeared to be someone in it for anything but the love of the game. Testament to his skill and versatility he was moved about frequently within the teams, playing positions that perhaps weren't completely natural to him. Apparently he never complained and was just grateful to be playing another game. Sadly being grateful seems to be one of those traits that a lot of the spoiled Sport-stars of the day have forgotten to have.
After achieving various records and hard to beat stats over his playing career (including second most capped player for Wales) he decided to lend his ample talent and amiable quality to coaching at Sheffield United. Although not entirely successful he then moved to management for the same side.
He has recently found greater managerial praise for his work with the Welsh International side. Things were really starting to improve for the team and looked to continue with his careful nurture of a few young talents within the team. It both confuses and saddens me further to hear that he spoke excitedly just yesterday about his aims and plans for the team in the coming months.
I don't want to speculate about why this happened or what may have contributed to this sad event, but I guess we should all be reminded that we can't/don't always know the intricate inner workings of a mind that is seemingly content on the outside...We must also take inspiration from the people that showcase such talent, poise and zest for life and grasp every opportunity that comes our way with gusto...
My thoughts go out to his Family, friends and colleagues at this tragic time xxxxx