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.