TWENTY-FOUR HOURS after the news first broke of Gary Speed’s tragic death at the age of 42, the tributes are still flooding in.
The Wales national side manager was found dead at his home early yesterday morning, sending the football world into shock.
This morning, Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, joined the tributes to the former Leeds, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton star.
“I’ve never known of such grief and loss,” the union chief told Sky Sports News earlier, “He was so popular, so friendly and I never heard a bad word about him. A real light has gone out in the football world.
“He was a great legend of a player and every time I saw him he had a smile. It’s terribly sad on behalf of everyone. He was one of our finest ever members, our sincere thoughts and condolences to his wife and sons.”
Police drive past Huntington Hall in Cheshire. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Yesterday’s football action went ahead despite the shocking news. A minute’s silence turned to a minute’s applause at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium before the scoreless draw against Aston Villa.
Visiting goalkeeper, Ireland’s Shay Given, was visibly upset before the kick-off. The Donegal man played with Speed at Newcastle.
Later at Anfield, Liverpool and Man City drew 1-1 after an entertaining 90 minutes with Mario Balotelli sent off after two yellow cards.
Speaking on RTE’s Today with Pat Kenny programme, former Leeds defender David O’Leary spoke of his shock this morning.
“It was probably about a couple of months ago [when I saw him last], “The biggest thing that struck me was watching the people who were really close to him like Shay.
“Knowing that he’d lost a great friend, teammate and mate and you know there’s genuine sadmess. And it saddened me knowing what Shay was going through. Football has lost a very decent bloke.”
More to follow