What Can Be Learned From The Sad Loss of Gary Speed?

The sad and untimely death of Gary Speed, manager of the Wales National Team has shocked many fans of football. The apparent suicide of the 42 year old will surely result in many questions in coming weeks regarding what would cause someone who has enjoyed a glittering football career to take his own life at such a young age.

Speed has been described as ‘one of the most respected young managers in the game’. He was a player at Leeds, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton, before moving on to coach the Welsh national team.  In addition to this, Gary Speed was one of the most popular players of his generation. The highlight of his career, as a player, was winning the league title with Leeds United in 1992. It has been suggested that he was tipped to enjoy similar success as a manager after having made a successful start to his international management career.  Since taking over at Wales in December 2010, Speed had remarked on the team’s improvement. They had enjoyed a 4-1 friendly win over Norway, which represented a third successive win for Wales, and Speed’s fifth in 10 games as manager.

Given the professional success that Gary Speed enjoyed, one issue that this tragic loss raises is the personal cost in the lives of professional players. There are many people in the world who struggle to make enough money to meet the basic needs of themselves and their families. On the other hand, there are those such as professional footballers that enjoy high standards of living as a result of high salaries. The one thing that unites all people is the need and quest for happiness. Hearing stories about what happens in the lives of high profile individuals such as footballers in the media consistently highlights the fact that the emotional needs of many wealthy and successful individuals from a variety of disciplines are left unsatisfied. Many people aspire to be like these people because they are certain that more success or money will make them happier. Seeing footballers such as George Best and Paul Gasgoine fighting public battles against alcoholism, and hearing the sad news that Gary Speed has committed suicide, sends a message to us all that success and money do not bring happiness or refuge from personal demons. This is an important lesson that must be taught to younger generations. Many young children are buying into ideas that becoming the next footballer or celebrity sensation will right all of the wrongs in their lives.

Gary Speed’s success as a footballer is unquestionable. He began his playing career at Leeds United after coming through the trainee ranks, and was part of the side that won the last Football League title in 1992, before the introduction of the Premier League. He left Leeds in 1996 after 312 appearances to join Everton – who he went on to captain – in a £3.5m move. Newcastle followed, in a £5.5m switch in 1998. During his six years with the Magpies, he suffered two FA Cup final defeats and sampled Champions League football. He then spent four years with Bolton Wanderers after agreeing a £750,000 move. He was handed his Wales debut as a 20-year-old in the 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica in May 1990. Speed became the first player to reach 500 Premier League appearances and won 85 caps for his country during a 14-year international career. He retired from international duty in 2004, with a record of seven scored goals and 44 appearances captaining his country. Speed’s final appearance came in 3-2 World Cup qualifying defeat by Poland in October 2004. He was given the top job in Welsh football despite only having four months managerial experience at Sheffield United. This admirable record is no doubt part of the reasoning behind the Football Association of Wales and Speed’s former club Leeds being shocked and saddened by news of his suicide.

Whatever the reasons were behind the premature departing of Gary Speed, his story is a lesson for other footballers and all of us to ensure that our lives are happy and our emotional needs are met. May his relatives and friends find comfort in the wake of this sad news and all observers learn to assess what really makes life worth living.

34 thoughts on “What Can Be Learned From The Sad Loss of Gary Speed?”

  1. Usually I let the bad stuff posted here slide, but this was a traffic (SEO-grabbing) headline with basically a cut-and-paste from Wikipedia.

    Gaffer, you’re better than posting this sort of stuff.

    1. Mike, it’s a fair question and a fair post. Post a link if you think it’s a copy and paste from Wikipedia. I don’t believe it is.

      The Gaffer

  2. What a terrible article. I’d say it’s bad timing. You bring up that his death is an example that the life of a footballer isn’t necessarily rosy as we all think.

    You don’t even know why he died, ffs!

    Disgusting from you, Carla as usual.

    1. Pedro, no one knows why Gary Speed committed suicide. It’s probably going to be a while before we find out more.

      The Gaffer

  3. Gaffer, contrary to earlier comments, I think ur blog was informative & interesting. But r u so sure he commited suicide? There is a press release saying there r no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death as against earlier reports from some newspapers. Pls verify.

    1. The Daily Telegraph reported the death as suicide and said police found him hanged at home.

      The Gaffer

  4. I find quite sad, I think fair to ask why someone who only 24 hrs earlier was on football focus would take there own life. I hope there was wrong doing involved but mostly any loss of life is sad.


  5. What is it with hanging in Wales, is Wales the capital of hanging?. I thought my life was bad, but still I haven’t hung myself, yet.

    1. With a troll face like that you must think about hanging yourself everytime you look in the mirror.


  6. Pointless article. What can be learned from the sad loss of Gary Speed? Nothing at all because no matter what anybody says or does, personal demons are always going to be there. He was a man who quite clearly was battling with personal issues that he felt he couldn’t cope with and that will always happen whether you are a rich and famous superstar or somebody on benefits who would never make the news if it happened to them. It must have been a really tough call for him to make and one that must take a lot of courage… on the flip side, it’s a selfish way out leaving behind his loved ones… but he obviously felt the need to end it there and then in the way he did. Let him rest in peace.

  7. its a big shock to here a profeshional footballer and a manager and the age of garry 42 leaving a beutifull wife and two kids r.i.p. you were a legend

  8. Its a perfectly legitimate place for this tragedy. He was a well-known player and played a game that is loved by many on this site. Not all circumstances are peaches and cream in any profession or life. The author basically stated this, with a tribute and sadness.

  9. Regardless as to the timing of this article, I think it should be said that suicide is a selfish act that affects the living considerably more. Don’t become the next Gary Speed. I say this with very personal experience on this.

    Depression is a serious affliction and is treatable. I won’t speculate as to what brought Speed to end his life but regardless, read the tributes that were left to him. And then think…if you took your own life, substitute the names and comments made by the likes of Gary Neville and Michael Owen with “my cousin Ron” and “My friend Joey from 5th grade.”

    See how sad his friends and former teammates are? That would be your friends and former teammates making the same comments.

    I’ve been there… trust me on this. It took a therapist and a bit of “in your face reality” for me to realize that I’d be hurting many more people than I’d ever realize. And I hope if you’re reading this and still contemplating suicide… call someone. Help is out there. Whatever you’re dealing with is temporary and won’t last. You can make it through whatever it is.

    Don’t be the Gary Speed of your family.

  10. I got the sad news from the original headline of this article from twitter. My personal feeling is that it was distasteful and the subject does not need to be addressed so quickly after Gary Speed’s passing. Besides that- it is just out of sync with quality of EPL Talk. Maybe in the future a proper obituary and some biographical information and then lots space for people to post their thoughts would be most appropriate. Having said that, the guys over on the podcast did a great job remembering Gary Speed. Almost as classy as Speed himself.

    Gaffer, sorry for the lose of a fellow Welshmen. Just an awful awful day.

  11. i have just read this article and i feel very sad for him, his family and their relatives. i do believe that sometimes in our lifes, we need help whenever depressed. we then have to run to a shoulder, to a specialist , to avoid such situations. never give up , there is always a way out.

  12. i think alot of people on here have missed the point of the article. There is a lot we can all learn about life and how we as humans can walk around with our personal problems and not talk about them. As men we are prone to doing this we can go to pubs and social gatherings but never speak about what is going off in our heads. Yes we are protectors of our loved ones but somehow we fail to protect ourselves. Everyone is asking how and why this is because we never know. I for one have suffered in the past with thoughts of suicide and have come very close like many others. if we can take lessons in life about what it means to find happiness within and seek help to talk about our problems life will seem a lot more clearer to us all beautiful article!

  13. Bible basher ha ha whatever do you mean uneducated man
    why do you bother writing two words? Didn’t school teach you to write more and longer sentences what was the point of putting your computer on to write that. Someone has died show some respect oh by the way you spell respect like this R e s p e c t
    Rest in peace Gary

    1. What I mean is that your initial post sounded like that of a preaching crazy fool. “Uneducated man”… very presumptuous of you. Why do I bother writing two words? Those two words summed everything up perfectly after your crazy rant regarding the “beautiful article”! I suggest you go take your medication now you crazy little man.

      1. so first its bible basher, then its preaching crazy fool, then its crazy little man name calling so infantile look in yourself it might just about sum up your personality. Your clearly not interested in the fact that someone has died. stop wasting electricity going on forums calling people names. Remember Respect you spell it like this…oh why bother! All i said was how can anyone who does’nt know someone say he was a good man or great man. Also it is an age old thing that men do not talk about their problems. Funny thing that but man can come on forums and write infantile diatribe.

  14. It does’nt matter if your selfish or not, your dead, it won’t trouble you anymore !!!!!

    If you have depression it won’t go away with a few tablets eventually your gonna commit suicide if the voices tell you the time is nigh.

    ‘The Hours’ 2002. Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep.”Always look life in the face and know it for what it is and love it then put it away” :(

    1. Have you ever suffered with depression? By the sound of it you haven’t and you know nothing about it either! There’s a bit of a difference between depression and manic depression (now called bi-polar)! Believe it or not, those few tables you speak of do in fact work wonders at getting essential chemicals which are lacking back moving around the body properly! “The voices tell you the time is nigh” are you for real?

  15. A very sad end to a young life indeed, and with all due respect, can someone explain how winning one league title and playing for your country, that as far as I am aware, has never won a European Championship or a World Cup constitute him having had a “Glittering” career ? baffled,..yep, I sure am.

  16. only western people seem to suffer from bouts of depression, i wonder why ?

    Then they go to stupid doctors for help who in turn feed the patient synthetic drugs, which is basically rat poison or at best a placebo.

    take for example 3rd world people (not sure where the 1st or 2nd world is), they have very little but know how to survive and make the most of life, yet in the West, there is plenty of money, technology, food, clean water etc etc yet people find silly excuses to be depressed. know thy self, be thy self love thy self = personal development….a dose of Jim Rohn or Zig Ziglar should do the trick

    Gary speeds death is so suspicious it stinks-to-high heaven. Why was the verdict of ‘no suspicious circumstances’ splashed all over the papers so soon after his ‘alleged suicide’ before any inquest and we are all buying this story. No note, no tell tell signs…..well there is only one other alternative. You do the maths.

    Don’t believe all that you read, do some research instead of pouring your hearts out like little lost souls.

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