Saturday, November 27, 2021

Gary Speed: 10 Years On

I had nothing to write today. As usual, I knew that something would eventually pop up that would give me the opportunity to publish a post.

As expected - inspiration came to me.

I came across a tweet from BBC's Dan Walker. Today is the tenth anniversary of Gary Speed's death.

Speed, who played football for Wales and, at one point during his career, my once-favourite club - Newcastle United, had appeared on TV with Walker as a guest on Football Focus. He would take his own life hours later.

Walker's tweet showed a tribute of sorts to Speed. It had brief clips from Speed's career as a player. He was, at that time, the boss of the Welsh team. The video had Walker talking about that day in the studio and showed Speed talking to one of the crewmembers before filming began. The pair had just that moment realised they had gone to the same school. 

The BBC presenter starts off the two-minute clip by saying how it doesn't feel like it has been ten years. 

It doesn't.

As you'd expect, as a Welsh sports loving family, we were stunned when the news broke on that quiet Sunday morning.

Selfishly, whenever I have thought about Gary Speed since that day, I've wondered what would have happened to the Wales team he was in charge of. The current team was built on the foundations that Speed was laying before his passing. Those teams have been in the last two UEFA European Championship tournaments and exceeded people's expectations in both. 

Wales is now also in the hunt to make it to the 2022 World Cup. Their first World Cup since the 1950's.

Speed's work may have ended ten years ago, but the inspiration has continued.

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