Newcastle’s Fitting Tribute To Gary Speed This Saturday

Newcastle United have today given the plans to pay tribute to Gary Speed at Saturday’s game against Chelsea.

Gary Speed – a fitting tribute on Saturday

Speed was found hanged in his garage on Sunday by his wife Louise, and his passing has been met by complete shock by the football world.

There will be a tribute paid to the former Newcastle United midfielder before the kick-off of Newcastle’s game at Chelsea on early Saturday afternoon.

A singer will lead the sell-out 52,000 crowd in a rendition of Welsh hymn Bread of Heaven, and placards will be given out to those in the east Stand and they will depict Speed’s Newcastle shirt number – 11 .

The game is expected to be a complete sell-out, which is fitting, and all supporters at the game will be handed hymn sheets.

There will also be a minute’s applause before kick-off, and there will be some emotion shown by Newcastle fans, who held Gary Speed in great esteem.

And former Chairman Freddy Shepherd spoke yesterday about Gary Speed:

“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.”

 “Gary was a Geordie at heart and he’s one of the nicest and most genuine men I have ever had the pleasure to meet.”  “He meant a lot to the fans up here and I know he is well-loved on Tyneside.”

“I saw him in June for a fundraiser for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and I also saw him in Portugal – he looked great, like he was on top of the world.”

“I heard about his death on the news and I think it’s incredibly tragic. I worked with him for many years at St James’ Park and I know he did not want to leave Newcastle United when he was eventually sold.”

“He was talented, professional and an incredible man – his death is a tragic loss to football and to everyone who knew him. My thoughts are with his family.”

Gary was let go by Newcastle rather  surprisingly in the summer of 2004, when he was 34 years-old.

He went to Bolton, where he played for four seasons,  and before he left Newcastle he went to see Shepherd.

The Welshman thanked him for his time at the club, and said he was just sorry he couldn’t have done more – such as bring a trophy to the club.

Gary Speed was a class act and a gentleman, and was loved by so many in the game.

There will not be too many dry eyes on Saturday, either at St. James’ Park or those watching on TV, as it will all be broadcast live around the world.

11 comments so far

  • ilovetoon8788

    Nov 30, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #1

    1 of the best centre midfielders we ever got along with Rob Lee. very very strong in the air. sad to see him go. was one of my fav players when i was young. RIP. really sad..

  • Chaz

    Nov 30, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #2

    I had the good fortune of meeting Gary Speed a few times during his amazing years at Newcastle as he lived in the hamlet of Todstead near Longframilington (the village where I live).

    I bumped into him in our village shop a few times and he also allowed my daughter to film and interview with him when she was putting a ‘showreel’ together in a quest to break into tv media.

    He was very much a man of the people. He had confidence and that unique ability to retain some humility as well. As people climb the slipper pole of success; many become more and more arrogant as they climb and distance themselves from those perceived to be ‘lesser’ than them. Often footballers fall into this bracket from my personal experience. Gary did not.

    He was a refreshingly normal, grounded man and Sam Allerdyce is right to say that IF he’d been brought into your home as a prospective partner for your daughter – you’d have been pleased.

    I’ll be there on Saturday doing my bit to give him a proper St James’s Park send off…


  • G.unit

    Nov 30, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Comment #3

    Just couldn’t believe it when I heard the news on Sunday, still can’t now. What a player he was, just seem to rise above everyone in the box for them headers. Was such a grafter and any young player coming should just look at the way Speedo played to see that hard work does pay off. An absolute class act. He will get the send off he deserves on Saturday. RIP SPEEDO.

  • Slimmy

    Nov 30, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    Comment #4

    In a time when footballers are looked upon by the general public as spoiled, overpaid pre-madonnas it’s a great shame that it takes a tragedy such as this to highlight a GREAT man like Gary Speed. A gentleman on and off the pitch, there are so many ways in which he will be a loss to the world, not just football. I’t quite fitting in a way the way in which we are playing this season, with the guile, gusto and 100% commitment that was Gary Speed. RIP Speedo. Gone but never forgotten.

  • markmac

    Nov 30, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #5

    I was very upset sunday,and i still am actually, obviously didnt know him except as being a great player for us, but also as someone who always kept his nose clean etc. model pro and a good family man like myself. also i saw that hugo viana wore a shirt with gary – rip on the other day,which i thought was nice


  • chris_g

    Nov 30, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    Comment #6

    markmac – yeah, I thought that was a nice touch by Viana as well. In case you hadn’t seen it already, he also had some very nice things to say about Gary in this article in the Chronicle:

  • markmac

    Nov 30, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    Comment #7

    No i hadnt read that, so cheers Chris, everybody who has spoken about him have spoken only great things , so so sad


    Nov 30, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    Comment #8

    Just seen the news on Sky
    I’ve been waiting all week to see what our response would be.
    It could be the most emotional time ever seen at St.James’. Park
    . As an exile in Chelmsford I’m going to be crying in the pub when I watch it.
    RIP Gary we all loved you.

  • JP...from The Rock

    Nov 30, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    Comment #9

    markmac – Everyone but Barton had nice things to say about Speedo. He said it was ‘really selfish’ of him to take his life. The fu*king idiot! Who the hell is he to talk and especially at such a delicate time like this to say that! Gary has always been a model pro in my eyes and always so fit and I don’t think he ever got injured for us. The guy was a machine and looked very down to earth. Sadly I never met him but from what I hear he was the nicest person you could meet and down to earth and that was exactly the impression I got of him. This really is tragic news for a man so loved and with such a bright managerial career in front of him. That moron Barton can’t shut up even if you broke his jaw and cut off his tongue to say that even if he might have a point he does not know when to shut up as he shows no respect and has no idea what the great man was going through.

    RIP Speedo
    gone but never forgotten

    PS Great touch by Viana and by our club and all the other clubs tbh.

  • Seanwax82

    Nov 30, 2011 at 11:23 PM

    Comment #10

    Barton shud get nothing but greif off every fan frm now on :$ as a lifelong welsh newcastle fan, the loss of Gary Speed hits me hard :/ he was an amazing person, an amazing proffessional n an amazing footballer ! an IDOL of mine ! barton is f*****g selfish complaining about bonus’s as if nothing has happened :/ gone WAY dwn in my ratings, way dwn !

    Going to be a sad day saterday for sure 🙁 hope we get a result Gary would be proud of ! R.I.P GARY SPEED

  • Gascoigne - Legend

    Dec 1, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    Comment #11

    Gary Speed you were a true legend and what every young up and coming person aspires to be . You gave everything not only for our club but every club that had the great experience of your incredible talents. You will be truly missed in this world. RIP Gary.


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