October 21, 2020

Tributes pour in for classy Speed


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Gary Speed, manager of Wales

The Football Association of Wales has opened a book of condolence after being inundated with messages of support following the death of manager Gary Speed.

Speed died at his home on the outskirts of Chester on Sunday, with sources confirming he was found hanged.

Cheshire Police said the inquest into Speed’s death will be opened at Warrington Coroner’s Court today.

Tributes have poured in for the former Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United midfielder and fans will be able to go to the FAW headquarters in Cardiff to leave their tributes.

FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford said that the organisation had received messages from Uefa and Fifa, with the Wales flag at Fifa House flying at half mast.

A visibly emotional Ford said: “We have had hundreds of messages, my phone hasn’t stopped with messages from everyone involved or not involved. It has touched everybody.

Speed in his playing days at Newcastle United

“We have had messages from family, friends have called, professional people have called, and they have all been heartfelt messages from people who may only have met Gary a couple of times, which showed the mark of the man.

“He was such a great person and he is such a loss.

“We have a book of condolence available at FAW headquarters and there is an area set aside for fans to leave flowers. Our door is open and we are trying to do everything we can at this terrible, terrible time.

“We have received letters from Uefa and Fifa and our letter from Sepp Blatter this morning said that the Welsh flag is flying at half mast at Fifa House.”

Phil Pritchard, the president of the FAW, said: “Its been a tremendous shock to us all. Obviously Louise [Speed’s wife] and the family are foremost in our thoughts. It takes a lot of taking in. The tributes to him are endless – we are going to miss him tremendously in Welsh football, the world in football is going to miss him. I’ve already had a personal communication from Mr Blatter, the president of Fifa, and from Mr Platini. That’s the respect that he has.”

Asked if it was too early regarding thoughts of any formal tribute Pritchard said: “Yeah. At the moment we’re all still in shock. This came absolutely out of the blue.

“He really was such a nice genuine guy – I’m sorry in my heart that it’s happened to Welsh football but I really do feel for the family, they’ll be absolutely devastated. A very close family is Gary’s and he always kept his family life to himself. I’m sure that they will need the time to grieve.”



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