We are all shocked at the sudden death of Gary Speed.
Gary Speed while at Newcastle United
As a sign of respect to the former great Newcastle United midfielder, here are some of the tributes that have come in for gary that are Newcastle related.
Alan Shearer was a former Newcastle team-mate and a best friend:
“Gary was a magnificent person, bright, fun and a wonderful family man – he lit up every room he walked into.
“I am proud to have been his friend and will miss him dreadfully.” –
Kenny Dalglish signed Speed for Newcastle in the summer of 1998:
“He was a smashing lad and was really well respected. We don’t know the circumstances obviously, and there’ll be a lot of people who are saddened at what’s happened.”
“But I think the most important people at this particular moment in time is his wife and kids – they must be absolutely devastated.”
“It’s a times like this that the football becomes a wee bit irrelevant. He was a very respected man in and around football, not only for his ability but for the guy as a person.”
“I signed Gary for £5M from Everton and he did a fantastic job for us at Newcastle, during the time I was there and after I’d left as well.”
Steven Taylor was a team mate at Newcastle:
“It is a sad, sad day. I played with him when I came through the ranks. He helped me through, he was an absolute machine – the best professional in football.”
“He had that aura about him. He always had time for the young lads and helped them feel good about themselves.”
Shola Ameobi was a team mate at Newcastle:
“Gary was a really great guy who joined the club the year before I made my debut,” he said.
“I looked up to likes of Gary and Alan Shearer, and he was always there for me and the rest of the young lads, taking time to talk to us at training and pass on little tips that helped you improve as a player.”
“Not everyone would do that so it just goes to show what a class act he was.” “He taught me so much, not just on the field, but how to handle yourself off the pitch too. I wish his family all the very best at this terribly sad time.”
Former team mate Warren Barton, now the chief Fox Soccer Channel analyst in the US, spoke fondly of Gary on the “Goals on Sunday” show in the US:
Gary was a true gentleman, a good family man and the best professional I have ever worked with. I’ve played with a lot of great players, and he was better than any of them: genuinely top class in the way he handled himself on and off the pitch.”
“He was the kind of man you wanted to be around, honestly. He was a guy that you could go out with after a match to the pub for a few drinks, and a guy who you’d have over with the wives and kids for dinner. He had the worst laugh I’ve ever heard, but that was part of his persona.”
“He was just good fun to be around. We talk about “good guys,” and “legends” too much, but Gary was truly that. He had so much going for him and was so genuinely loved by everyone in football.”
His wife, Louise, is good friends with my wife, and his two boys are the same ages as mine. I cannot imagine what they are going through right now. I talked to him on Tuesday, and I cannot help but think that, whatever he was going through, if he only knew that there were hundreds if not thousands of people who were there for him, maybe this would not have happened. “
“He was genuinely loved by all of us, and this is a tragedy.” It’s hard to talk about sport on a day like this, but Gary would have wanted us to. He liked to say “we have to just get on with it,”
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew:
“This is one of the saddest days in football, when we hear a colleague as respected as Gary is tragically no longer with us,”
“A top class international player whose seamless move into national team management tells us everything you need to know about him. He had great class on and off the pitch, he was a man of true character that so many people looked up to.”
“It is so sad and tonight my thoughts are of course with his family.”
Michaal Owen was a team mate at Newcastle:
“Just cannot believe the news regarding Gary Speed. We waved at each other a couple of days ago dropping our kids off at school. I’m numb.”
John Carver worked with Gary at Newcastle when he was Assistant manager to Bobby Robson and was the Welshman’s Assistant manager at Sheffield United:
“Gary was a very close friend and colleague of mine and I am absolutely shattered by the news, it is totally devastating,”
“When I was coaching at Newcastle with Sir Bobby, Gary was as perfect a professional as you could ever wish to work with – 100 per cent committed, dedicated to his profession and, above all, a wonderful colleague and friend.”
“I worked with him at Sheffield United too and of course was delighted to see the fantastic job he was doing with Wales. I am devastated by the news and I can only offer his family the most sincere of condolences at this tragic time.”
“Gary was an exceptional person and a very dear friend. Football has lost a truly great man.”
Steve Harper was a team mate at Newcastle:
“I am shocked and devastated at the news.” “Gary was a great friend, the ultimate professional and will be sorely missed by everyone. Our thoughts are with his family.”
And finally the statement issued by Newcastle United Football Club:
The board, manager, staff and players of Newcastle United FC are today deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Gary Speed.
Gary was an inspirational and much-loved player at Newcastle United during his time with the club from 1998 to 2004, making 285 appearances and scoring 40 goals.”
“He was an excellent servant to the club, the ultimate professional, and an exceptional role-model for younger players.”
Gary will be deeply missed by everyone at Newcastle United. Our condolences go out to his family at this very sad time.”
Gary with wife Louise pictured recently at Shay Given’s Fashion Kicks event held at the Lancashire County Cricket Club in Manchester
Shay Given in tears before the game at Swansea today
Maybe we can use Gary’s death to treat people with just a little bit more respect than we did before.
Newcastle should also dedicate the game against Chelsea on Saturday at St. James’ Park to Gary, and I don’t care if we win, lose or draw, but the game should in memory of the former Wales National Football Manager and Newcastle United midfielder.
We offer our sincere condolences to his wife Louise and two sons, and to the rest of his family.
Rest in peace Gary Speed.