Gary Speed appeared on Football Focus, the BBC football show, earlier on Saturday alongside former Leeds United teammate Gary McAllister for a discussion regarding several topics. Eerily, it would be his last TV interview. Only hours later, Speed was found dead in his garage by his wife.
While the football world mourns his death, I want to share some videos which highlight his career. The first is that fateful last interview (above) on Football Focus. The second is a video tribute of his time at Leeds United. You can see in the video below how gifted and composed Speed was in front of goal at such a young age at Elland Road. He was a key player in Howard Wilkinson’s side that were such a force in the early 1990’s.
The third and final video is from Match Of The Day 3, which features Michael Owen and Mark Lawrenson discussing some of their fondest memories of Speed. Be sure to watch the end of the video for some golden goals by Speed.
Being Welsh, I’ve followed Gary Speed throughout his career. He was the type of player that rarely put in a poor performance. His consistency and never-say-die attitude lifted his teammates and helped spur Leeds, Newcastle and Bolton — especially — on to great heights. Out of everything he achieved, his greatest accomplishment (in my opinion) was the way that he took a Welsh national team who were being ridiculed by former Welsh players, and turned the entire team around into the strongest Welsh side for the past decade. Hopefully Speed’s legacy will be Wales qualifying for the 2014 World Cup or Euro 2016. If so, it would be a team that he helped turn around, to boost with confidence and that made people all around the world respect Wales once more as a footballing nation.
Gary Speed was born ten days before me. While he was born in the north of Wales, I was born in the south. I never had the chance to meet Gary, but I did see him play once when Everton beat Bolton Wanderers 1-0 in November, 2006 on a cold and blustery day at Goodison Park. While he wasn’t in the win column that day, I feel honored that I got a chance to see him play and will never forget him.
H/T 101 Great Goals.