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A Tribute to Gary Speed

A tribute to one of football’s true greats – Gary Speed, following his untimely death this past weekend.

Gary Speed was one of football’s most loved icons; this is evident from all the tributes that have flowed in since the news of his death. Football fans from all over the country, regardless of what team they support. Further proof of how well he was thought of was when he was awarded an MBE in the 2010 birthday honours.

Speed was born in Mancot, Wales and started his football career at Leeds United as a trainee and signed professionally in 1988. During his professional career Speed made 535 appearances in the Premier League, with only David James making more. Overall he made 840 domestic appearances including all competitions and 85 international caps for Wales. He was blessed with a career which was relatively injury or suspension free.

Growing up Gary was an Everton fan and in 1996 he was signed by his childhood team which he went on to captain the following season. In his first season with the club he scored the only hat- trick of his career in a 7-1 thrashing over Southampton, at the end of the season he was voted Everton’s player of the year. However when new manager Howard Kendall took over things soon turned sour and Speed was sold to Newcastle in 1998. He also played for Bolton Wonderers and Sheffield United.

Speed began his managerial career when he took over at Sheffield United in October 2010 but a few short weeks later he left the post to take up the post of Wales national team manager in December 2010. He did wonders for the Welsh national team as they were playing the best football anyone had seen in years, this earned them four consecutive wins; the last being a 4-1 win over Norway in a friendly.

He had a fantastic career which was still going strong, and friends who have nothing but good things to say about him these include Robbie Savage and Alan Shearer and not forgetting his young family that he is leaving behind. Gary was married to his wife Louise and they had two sons.

Hopefully one day the mystery will be solved as to why he took such drastic steps and ended what seems to be a wonderful and happy life.

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