With the footballing world still reeling from the shock news of Gary Speed’s untimely death, the tributes have literally been pouring in for one of British football’s most respected men.
The Wales manager may have played for United’s arch rivals Leeds, but even the most ardent Reds have been showing their shock and sadness at his passing, which is a testament to the character of Speed.
United’s players have also been paying their respects with Ryan Giggs one of the first to comment.
Giggs said: “I am totally devastated. Gary Speed was one of the nicest men in football and someone I am honoured to call a team-mate and friend. Words cannot begin to describe how sad I feel at hearing this awful news. It goes without saying my thoughts are with his family at this tremendously sad time.”
Michael Owen noted:
“Everyone knew that Gary Speed was a gentleman. His footballing ability was without question but I would like to focus on him as a person. He lived in my area only 10 or 15 miles away. The whole mood of Cheshire when the news broke was utter shock and disbelief. Devastated.”
Gary Neville had this to say:
“It’s absolutely devastating. My career and his crossed many times, I played against him many times. Everyone that I know that knew him couldn’t say enough good things about him. We think of football as being important, but it’s not really.”
The circumstances surrouding Speed’s death are still open to speculation, but early reports indicate he appears to have taken his own life.
Whatever the reason for Speed’s untimely death, it’s one that the whole of football has been shocked and saddened by, regardless of which team you support.
Our thoughts and sympathies are with Gary Speed’s family.