Alan Shearer and Gary Speed were very good friends, and they became close when they both played for Newcastle United, when the great Bobby Robson was the Magpies’ manager.
A recent photograph of Gary Speed with wife Louise
And we knew the two of them used to vacation together with their families in the summers, and it turns out that Alan met Gary early on Saturday afternoon, and Shearer was later seen on TV at the Old Trafford game, where he was watching his home town team Newcastle play the Red Devils.
Who would have thought that less than 24 hours later Gary would be found hanged in his home in Chesire, at around 7:00 am on Sunday morning?
Shearer gave an emotional interview to BBC Radio Five Live’s Monday Night Club, and he described what turned out to be the last ever meeting with his good friend:
“We were arranging next weekend. He was coming up to stay at my house with his wife and we were going up to various charity dinners on Friday and Saturday. We left the studio at half past two and I walked over to Old Trafford to go and watch Newcastle.”
“I shook his hand and said, ‘see you next weekend’ – and unfortunately I won’t.” “It’s incredible. I’m still numb and still shocked like everyone else. You read things in the newspaper and it doesn’t happen to one of your best mates.”
“I’m just so sad and shocked and feel for (Speed’s wife) Louise and his two boys and mum and dad.” “I was with him and he was happy and joking and we were having a normal mickey-take like we do out of each other, and having a laugh and a joke about our golf trips and holidays that we went on together last year.”
“And we were planning our next holiday in Portugal next summer with our families and kids.” “You’re bound to have arguments along the way in football, but no one ever did with Gary – no one had a bad word for him.”
“He was an incredible guy who you could rely and depend on. Everyone loved him.”
“He was loved because that’s the type of guy that he was – he got on with everyone and everyone respected him.”
This is a story that is very hard to take for a lot of us who looked up to Gary Speed, as not only a wonderful footballer, but a terrific person, who always displayed class and dignity, whatever the situation was.
And of course he only recently had set about transforming the Wales National side into a force to be reckoned with.
So at least on the surface he seemed to have everything going for him, and it seems he showed that kind of positive attitude to his close friends too, like Alan Shearer.
It must be torturous for Alan to have met an upbeat and smiling Gary Speed on Saturday afternoon, the day before he was found dead at his home.
This is one of the saddest stories we have ever covered in football, and are still completely devastated by Gary’s untimely death.
But our hearts go out to his wife Louise and his two sons, and to the rest of Gary’s family.