It’s hard to believe that, exactly one year ago today, Gary Speed passed away.
It was emotional then and it still is to this day. I remember seeing all the photos of stadium gates of the clubs he’d played for this time last year literally being covered with shirts and tributes to him, none more so than at Elland Road, where he was still loved by Leeds United years after he left them. He was always a legend at Elland Road and you couldn’t move outside the stadium for cards, flowers, memorials and shirts left by various teams’ fans in his memory. I seem to remember that, on a photo of the gates of Goodison Park, home of Everton, there were red shirts dotted through tons of blue ones. The city of Liverpool had come together once more, just like when it comes together in memory of Hillsborough, where 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives in 1989 during an FA Cup match against Nottingham Forest.
Other football teams Gary Speed had played for included my team, Bolton Wanderers, and Newcastle United before becoming manager of Sheffield United and the Welsh national team, with whom he’d been manager shortly before he died. I remember the Swansea fans were applauding him and chanting his name during their minutes’ applause against Newcastle United at St. James’s Park and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper, Shay Given, not being able to do anything for crying. I respect Swansea for that, as well as the fans of both Leeds United and Everton chanting ‘there’s only one Gary Speed’ for eleven minutes as well as applauding his name, which I also praised.
It just shows you that, no matter what, football fans will usually always stick together through tough times like this.
RIP Speedo. You’ll never be forgotten.