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Remembering Gary Speed: ten years after the tragedy that shook football

It has been ten years since the world of football was shaken to its foundations, after learning of the tragic death of Premier League icon Gary Speed.

In a long and legendary career in professional football, Speed ​​joined some of the biggest clubs in England, including Leeds, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton, before earning the highest honor of managing his country, Wales.

On the anniversary of his passing, Sportsmail has brought together some of the biggest names in soccer who knew Speed ​​best, to share their memories of the Mr. Nice Guy of soccer.

Ten years have passed since the passing of Wales football icon and legend Gary Speed.

Ten years have passed since the passing of Wales football icon and legend Gary Speed.

GORDON STRACHAN – teammate at Leeds

Associated midfielders in the 1992 First Division title

When I first met him in Leeds, he was 17 and normal. Neat, a nice jump but nothing to make him a star. Then he started training harder and learning.

I sat next to him in the dressing room for five or six years and he became like a little son to me. My wife Lesley loved him too.

Strachan (left) and Speed ​​(center) seen together celebrating a goal during their Leeds days

Strachan (left) and Speed ​​(center) seen together celebrating a goal during their Leeds days

Strachan (left) and Speed ​​(center) seen together celebrating a goal during their Leeds days

He just became a top-tier player. It was like a missile that travels upward that you can’t stop.

There are geniuses and there are those who work to go from the ordinary to the very, very good. Not many can do that, but Gary did. I loved him.

What example he became.

HOWARD WILKINSON – Leeds Manager

Gave Speed ​​his first team debut at age 19

The morning of my first game as Leeds coach, I walked in early to watch the kids play and the under-18 coach Peter Gunby told me, “This kid on the left, Gary Speed, is going to be a player.”

You could see that he was authentic and a great example for others. He came early, practiced a lot, and went home late.

He didn’t have a blunt personality at that age. I don’t think he’s ever completely lost his shyness and his success didn’t happen overnight. He was a slow beginner.

Howard Wilkinson was the man who gave Speed ​​his football debut at just 19 years old.

Howard Wilkinson was the man who gave Speed ​​his football debut at just 19 years old.

Howard Wilkinson was the man who gave Speed ​​his football debut at just 19 years old.

But you could see that he had the qualities to become a leader, a captain, and a manager if that was what he wanted to be. As a player, he was very versatile. Apart from the goalkeeper, he must have played for me in every position on the field.

Above all, he understood the notion of always doing the best for the team. That was an important factor in understanding who he was as a footballer.

He recognized his responsibility to the team and to the group. He was a good boy. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like me.

JOE ROYLE – Everton Manager

Speed ​​signed for £ 3.5 million from Leeds in the summer of 1996

I remember when we were in talks to sign him. His agent said, ‘Joe, Gary has told (me) this has to happen, so there isn’t too much haggling.’

That summed it up.

He left us just as he was about to reach the peak of his managerial career, which was a terrible shame. I thought his next job would be in the Premier League. I was driving towards Oldham when I heard the news on the radio and almost hit the road. Gary was a great athlete, you could have played him in the middle half or on the left back, anywhere on the left.

He was an occasional intern in the locker room, if at all on the shy side, and just a lovely boy.

Speed ​​pictured with David Batty after winning the former Football League Division One trophy

Speed ​​pictured with David Batty after winning the former Football League Division One trophy

Speed ​​pictured with David Batty after winning the former Football League Division One trophy

GRAHAM STUART – Everton teammate

I loved him on and off Goodison’s field

The first thing that comes to mind about Speedo is that he was a good egg, a good guy. You always wanted to be in his company off the court because he gave you everything. He took care of himself, he always did everything right.

Then there was his laugh. I can’t explain the sound he made when he started laughing, but it was one of those noises that made you laugh too. It was the worst laugh you’ve ever heard, but it was absolutely brilliant!

Speed ​​and Stuart, seen playing for Newcastle and Southampton, became friends at Everton

Speed ​​and Stuart, seen playing for Newcastle and Southampton, became friends at Everton

Speed ​​and Stuart, seen playing for Newcastle and Southampton, became friends at Everton

Actually, on second thought, I shouldn’t have liked it at all. He was handsome, brilliant at soccer, and had a lovely family. I would look at myself in the mirror after looking at it and think, ‘Where did I go wrong ?!’

The last time I was with him, we were in Barbados and we had played in a tournament. We were sitting together one morning, having breakfast in the sun and he was laughing, as always.

A few months later, we received the news. I will never forget.

JOHN CARVER – Newcastle Deputy Manager

He formed a bond with Speed ​​when he went to Tyneside in 1998.

I worked with him in Newcastle and was honored when he asked me to be his assistant at Sheffield United, his first job as a manager. Gary was a workaholic and if he couldn’t find him, he knew he would be in the video room.

Often I would come in and he would play the guitar. He loved the Stereophonics. However, we used to laugh because the analyst was better than him.

We became great friends and our families too. I will never forget one of his guys speaking at Gary’s funeral so maturely, it was amazing. Even now, I’m excited to talk about it.

John Carver first joined Speed ​​at Tyneside in 1988 and later trained alongside him.

John Carver first joined Speed ​​at Tyneside in 1988 and later trained alongside him.

John Carver first joined Speed ​​at Tyneside in 1988 and later trained alongside him.

SAM ALLARDYCE – Bolton Manager

Signed for £ 750,000 from Newcastle in the summer of 2004

I signed Gary when he was almost 35, but his stats were like a 28-year-old. And it was a rarity in the sense that he was never, ever injured.

David Moyes also wanted me to come back to Everton, but we got it and he bought into everything we were doing back then.

He was a first-rate player. You can’t achieve what he did without being one. But it was his mindset that stood out.

Sam Allardyce signed Speed ​​in the twilight of his career, but knew he could provide the goods

Sam Allardyce signed Speed ​​in the twilight of his career, but knew he could provide the goods

Sam Allardyce signed Speed ​​in the twilight of his career, but knew he could provide the goods

These days, most players look to the bench, to their coaches, when big decisions have to be made during a game. Speedo didn’t. He was one of those who instinctively knew how to adapt. He did and the others would follow.

We had a fundraising game in Bolton last weekend and a lot of that team came to play. We had 13,000 people on the ground. Gary would have been there for sure.

We miss him.

JOHN HARTSON – Welsh teammate

We value speed as a player, captain and as a man

I remember when Mark Hughes was a coach and Gary was one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. He was undoubtedly the best midfielder in Wales.

Mark asked Gary to play left back simply because we didn’t have one and he knew Gary could do it with his eyes closed.

Gary was the captain and it was his right to choose which position he played. But he just said ‘yes’ because that was the kind of man he was.

He was with the team all day and with him as a left back we almost reached the final of Euro 2004.

Gary was a real man. First to organize a day of golf, first on the tee and then first to invite everyone for a drink.

Hartson (# 9) heads to congratulate Speed ​​(right) after one of his goals scored for Wales

Hartson (# 9) heads to congratulate Speed ​​(right) after one of his goals scored for Wales

Hartson (# 9) heads to congratulate Speed ​​(right) after one of his goals scored for Wales

He used to take his guitar to training camps and some of the guys would go to his room to hear him play. It wasn’t very good, of course. We said yes!

I remember the day I knew he was dead. He was working Swansea versus Aston Villa for the BBC.

I walked across the parking lot and saw Bobby Gould. I knew immediately that something was wrong. He told me and I just put my head on his shoulder and didn’t pick it up again for about five minutes. He told me to go do my job, but I couldn’t.

I got back to my car and drove home. I don’t think I even told the BBC. That game should never have taken place.

Gary was my captain and an inspiration. What a player but, more importantly, what type.

JOE ALLEN – Wales International

Speed ​​gave him the first start in 2011

It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed. A lot of the guys still talk about Gary, the influence he had on us as young players when he was a coach.

He renewed many things, not only in the field, but also outside of it, and we have reaped the fruits of that.

That is one of the main reasons why Welsh football has been in such a healthy position for the last decade. It will always be in our thoughts.

It was part of the beginning of our journey, first for Euro 2016 and everything that has come since then.

Now a staple of the Wales national team, Allen got his chance with Speed ​​as a coach.

Now a staple of the Wales national team, Allen got his chance with Speed ​​as a coach.

Now a staple of the Wales national team, Allen got his chance with Speed ​​as a coach.

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