41 year-old Gary Speed has been getting a lot of coverage this week as he prepared his Wales side to meet England this afternoon at the Millennium Stadium.
Gary Speed while at Newcastle
Gary, who was born in Mancot, Wales, was manager at Sheffield United with John Carver as his assistant before he was offered, and accepted the Wales job last year, and replaced John Toshack.
Gary had a terrific 6 years at Newcastle from 19988 until 2004, when the skilled central midfielder played 284 times for Newcastle with 40 goals.
Gary then went on to play for Bolton (and Kevin Nolan), and has had a terrific playing career that lasted almost 22 years, and he played for Leeds United and Everton before moving to Newcastle.
In total Gary played a phenomenal 831 first class club games with 133 goals, and in addition he played 85 times for Wales with 7 goals, and he came out yesterday to say it was a mistake when he left Newcastle in the summer of 2004.
Bobby Robson had told him he would no longer be an automatic choice at 34 on Tyneside, and he moved to Bolton Wanderers.
And of course in late August of 2004 the incredible happened, and Freddy Shepherd sacked Bobby, which is now history at Newcastle, but not very good history.
This is what Gary Speed said yesterday:
“I shouldn’t have left when I did. Bobby didn’t want me to go, but the club accepted an offer, I wasn’t going to be playing every week so I made a decision to go to Bolton,”
“I enjoyed my time there, but with hindsight I could have stayed and I should have done, the door wasn’t closed on me. I didn’t like the idea of not being first choice anymore. It was a mistake, but we all make them.”
“I loved my time up there, it is a fantastic place to live and a fantastic place to play football. It was definitely the most enjoyable period of my career, playing in the Champions League. We were one of the top four or five sides in the country at that time and that is where Newcastle should be in my opinion.”
“It may not have seemed like it at the time, but I think relegation might be the best thing that could have happened to them.” “It’s going to take some time, but they seem to be in a good shape financially and gradually they are building themselves back into the club they should be.”
“Bobby Robson was fantastic, there are so many memories. He pops into my head a lot, things he said, things he did. I’m my own man, you have to be as a manager, but obviously there are things I picked up.
“Bobby was just a fantastic manager, he knew how to get the best out of his players.
Gary Speed is very good friends with Alan Shearer, and if Alan had got the manager job in the summer of 2009, there were rumors Alan would have brought Gary in as his assistant manager, and indeed we wouldn’t be too surprised to see Speed turn up back at Newcastle as manager, at some time in the future.
But first of all he would have to show he is a very good manager just like another former central midfielder at the club, Lee Clark, is showing at Huddersfield Town, who are currently second top of League One in an automatic pormotion place.
Lee Clark has already let everybody know his ambition is to one day manage his home town club.
Alan Shearer seems to want to stay in the BBC studio, and that will never improve his management skills of course, and Alan will have to go out to some smaller club and learn the ropes, just like future good managers have done in the past.
But it would appear he doesn’t want to do that.