News today that an inquest on Gary Speed’s death will be opened today at the coroner’s court at Warrington Town Hall.
Gary Speed with his wife Louise
There will also be a full full hearing on Gary’s shocking death at some later date, and the date is yet to be determined.
The happily married and very successful father of two was found hanged by his wife, Louise, in the garage of their £1.5M home in the village of Huntington, near Chester, shortly after 7:00 am on Sunday morning.
At former clubs where Gary Speed played, scarves, football shirts and various mementos have been left in memory of Gary, and that’s happened at St. James’ Park, where he played for six years from 1998 until 2004.
Other football stadiums where this has happened are at Goodison Park, Elland Road and Millennium Stadium and Cardiff City Stadium, where Wales played their home games.
And there is good news today that five top-class footballers have come forward and asked for help from the Tony Adams’ Sporting Chance Clinic.
The Chief Executive Peter of the Sporting Chance Clinic had this to say today:
“I’ve received emails and phone calls from five players since Gary Speed’s passing, all of whom have said, “I have got to do something about this. I need help”.
“It is fair to say Gary’s death has prompted them to ask for help.” ” Actually admitting you need help is one of the hardest and bravest decisions to make and at the clinic we will do all we can to try and get their lives back together.”
“They are talented and hard-working and they perform in front of huge audiences, so I can see why they may suffer from stress and pressure more than others. But that aside, they are normal human beings.”
“‘We don’t know what the reasons are for Gary Speed’s death and it would be wrong to even start to guess, but it shows that support and counselling is vitally important for footballers who face problems in their lives.”
A Newcastle United scarf placed at the entrance to Gary’s house in Huntington, near Chester
One example of a former player who has gone public with his depression is former Liverpool player Stan Collymore, and Peter had this to say about Stan:
“Stan Collymore came out and said he suffered from depression some years ago and his manager John Gregory went on record to say, “how could he be depressed on £20,000 a week?”
“You can suffer from mental illness if you are a dustman on £200 a week or a footballer on £200,000 a week. There is no difference.”
‘What Gregory was displaying was the dinosaur attitude which was still around back then. Thankfully it is getting better because people are becoming more educated about the fact that mental illness, or addictions, can happen to anyone.”
“It can happen to kings, queens and princes as well as farm laborers.” “The work the clinic has done with the likes of Tony Adams and, more recently, Joey Barton has improved some perceptions.:”
“However, there are still significant numbers of fans who go to football matches and think that gives them a right to verbally abuse a player, by asking whether his wife likes to have sex in a certain way.”
Joey Barton sought help from the Clinic for his drinking problems, after being jailed for six months in the summer of 2008 for assault, after Joey had been drinking in the Liverpool City center, and the QPR midfielder has been very complimentary about their work.
After Joey had been treated by the Clinic, he had th to say about their work, back in 2009:
“It was a life-changing experience. I learned that asking for help doesn’t make you weak and walking away from trouble doesn’t make you a coward.”
“That was the best thing I’ve ever done.” “It has given me a totally different outlook on why things happen.”
“That doesn’t mean I won’t make mistakes, because since then I have. But I have a different thought process and way of handling things now.”
Depression is a terrible disease, and as we said yesterday, if Gary’s tragic death can help other people, particularly men, come forward with their problems, that would be a very good thing.