By Daniel Cheater
The football world was united in grief yesterday after Wales’ National Football Team manager Gary Speed, 42, was found dead at his home.
The former midfielder, who won 85 caps for Wales was found dead at his home in Huntington, Cheshire and was apparently found hanged.
The outpouring of anguish was universal, none more so from those connected with Brighton and Hove Albion football Club.
Manager Gus Poyet said: “I was absolutely shocked. It was a very sad Sunday for football, the kind of news you cannot believe. Even when people tell you, you need to check yourself because you don’t believe it.
“I didn’t know him a lot but I knew him enough, because I played against him. I had to mark him, because he was very good in the air. He was professional, a very nice person.
“I played in seniors tournaments against him and he seemed a very nice guy, which has been shown in the reaction of the world of football. It’s very sad.”
Former Brighton player Robbie Savage was emotionally blunt with his comments on Twitter:
“The world has lost a great man in Gary speed I’m devastated spoke to him yesterday morning why ! Why. Why!! I’ll miss him so much x”.
Ex Wales boss Mark Hughes said: “He was a privilege to work alongside and call a friend” while current Wales international Aaron Ramsey said: “To say I’m devastated is an understatement.”
The Swansea vs Aston Villa match went ahead in spite of the news.
A minute’s silence turned, poignantly, into a minute s ovation with fans chanting, ‘there’s only one Gary Speed.’
Speed’s long time friend, Villa Goal keeper Shay Given could not hold back his grief and had to take time to clean his face from tears before the match could be started.
In a glorious career, Speed started his career at Leeds, winning the 1991-1992 first division title making over 300 appearances and scoring 57 goals.
He was then sold to Everton for £3.5m before quickly moving onto Newcastle for £5.5m, where he spent six fantastic years.
He moved to Bolton in 2004, and was the first player to reach 500 Premier League appearances, before finishing his playing career with Sheffield United to become their player manager.
He lasted just four months before being offered the Wales job after the sacking of John Toshack.
He left a small, but lasting legacy with the Wales team, winning five of his ten games in charge, including three wins in his last three games.
Speed is survived by his parents, wife and two sons.
An inquest into his death opened today (Tuesday 29th November 2011)