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November 28th, 2011:

Gary Speed MBE (1969-2011)

It is rare that I find the death of a famous person shocking but when I heard of Gary Speed’s death today I was shocked.

A fine player for many clubs (he holds the appearances record for an outfield player in the Premiership) and a great player for his national team (but can I be forgiven for recalling mainly his time at Newcastle) and his current job as the manager Wales seemed to be going very well (Wales had leap-frogged about fifty places in the FIFA rankings). He was also by all accounts a thoroughly decent bloke. It would appear he hung himself.

I shall leave the final words to his Newcastle team-mate Alan Shearer.

Alan Shearer, who played alongside Speed at Newcastle for six years between 1998 and 2004, said: “Gary was a magnificent person, bright, fun and a wonderful family man – he lit up every room he walked into.

“I am proud to have been his friend and will miss him dreadfully.”

If you have followed football at all over the last twenty years you will appreciate that from the notoriously taciturn Mr Shearer.

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