Gary Speed – A Truly Magical Magpie Legend

Posted on November 28th, 2011 | 34 Comments |

Sir Bobby Robson and Gary Speed MBE.
Two great legends - One sadly missed,, and another who will be.
Gary Speed MBE: 1969 – 2011.

With the sad news on Sunday morning of the passing of the ex-Newcastle United midfielder and Wales manager, I thought it would be a nice gesture to post something that would give an opportunity for our readers to reminisce about Speed’s career on Tyneside.

I wrote the this article as a tribute to the great man about three months ago. After contemplating doing a series of pieces highlighting some of my favourite Newcastle United players of the last decade. Gary Speed was the first player that entered my head when I thought of the more recent legends who have graced the black and white shirt, so he was the first subject of my ‘Magical Magpie Legends’ pieces.

I have also included a video below, posted by youtube user “pbraddazz”. It is a video tribute to Gary’s six and a half great years at Newcastle United, from his signing by Kenny Dalglish in February 1998, to the time of his departure in July 2004. There is also another video of Gary Speed’s his final appearence on Saturday’s “Football Focus”, which was recorded only a few hours before his tragic death.

Rest in peace Gary Speed, you will be missed.

Magical Magpie legends: Gary Speed.

NUFC Tribute to Gary Speed (1969 – 2011)

Gary Speed’s last appearence on “Football Focus”, Saturday, 26th November, 2011.

NUFCBlog Author: Jimbob Backpacker extraordinaire and current resident of sunny Sheffield. Loves Marmite, hates peanut butter. Sleeps twice a day, wrestles Polar Bears because he can and regards himself as cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce. Jimbob has written 40 articles on this blog.

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34 Responses

  1. So sad , quite tragic to lose someone so young , remembered fondly by a mag from afar , he was great in his heyday almost immovable on the ball, sad to see you go Gary RIP ….

  2. lesh – i saw that blog as well – spooky aint it?

    also – stan collymore writing in his column about his own bouts of depression.

    just goes to show that money/fame/adoration just isnt as good as its cracked up to be. i’ll settle for being poor and unknown thanks

  3. can’t get my head round it. watching goals on sunday and the lad says we leave you with the sad news …im thinking it will be some old timer kicked the bucket but gary speed? to say it came as a shock is a understatment. truly sad news

  4. Still crnt believe it, bril profesional n a true football legend. Its weird tht i was watchin on football focas and few hrs later he died. Wonder if he new tht it wud b he last tv apperence. To much presure being piled on footballers n mamagers these days.

  5. Absolute legend, and a real shock – i dont think anybody can quite believe it. Used to love watching him play for the Toon, everything u’d want from a player.

  6. At times like this I’m ashamed of the abuse we heap on managers & players who are trying to do their jobs under ever increasing pressures – I can’t begin to imagine what Steve Bruce & his family are going through after the venomous abuse that he was subjected to on saturday.

    The particlar chant of “geordie bastard” is as objectionable as sectarian or racial abuse – although many in the media probably don’t understand the implicit hatred being expressed. This is much more extreme than simple rivalry and warrants consideration of FA action.

    This sort of behaviour is not acceptable in a civilized society and would not be tolerated outside a football ground – our new modern stadiums should be fit places for families, not the dregs of society
    – what sort of people are we becoming? What sort of damage are we doing?

  7. Sometimes U-tube videos flatter to deceive, the one above shows exactly what we got. A great footballer who was am immense asset to his team whoever he played for.

    As I was watching MOTD Sunday I felt a sense of pride he was one of ours for many years and I’m sure other teams supporters for who he played feel the same. Perversely I felt a bit sad for those who’s teams he didn’t play for and although they are as sad at his death, didn’t get the same pleasure at seeing him play on a regular basis.

    I never knew him as a person but all who did have only good things to say about him.

    The biggest loss felt will be by his family and closest friends, my condolences to them.

    RIP Gary Speed, Newcastle legend.

  8. SuperMac, I agree with most of your sentiments. A person shouldn’t seek the relative safety of a crowd to insult someone if they are not prepared to face them openly one to one with the same type of vitriolic comments. Not that I would condone either of these actions.

    Unfortunately swearing and bad manners seems to be part of lifes modern trends, to the extent that a judge recently overruled an attempt by police to prosecute a particularly nasty individual for public abuse. Another, it would seem, “Human Rights” issue.

    Incidently on a slightly related theme, we had the Minister for Health using his priveleged position to call supporters of the 38degrees campaign to save the NHS from privitisation, Zombies. I’ll eat his brains if I could find he has any! I suppose I had better stress that is meant to be humour to any netpolice.

  9. Grumpy Old-Toon says:

    November 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    !Incidently on a slightly related theme, we had the Minister for Health using his priveleged position to call supporters of the 38degrees campaign to save the NHS from privitisation, Zombies. I’ll eat his brains if I could find he has any! I suppose I had better stress that is meant to be humour to any netpolice.!

    Grumpy, I know someone who works on the railways down here in London. He was working on a crowded commuter train one day, and a certain persion ordered him to move one of the oiks out of a seat so that he could sit down. When he told the man that he couldn’t do that he was absolutely livid, did the “do you know who I am” routine and wanted someone in charge to sack him on the spot. Guess who it was ;-)

  10. Very sad, a relatively young man, who was well liked wherever he played.
    Who was acheiving a degree of success with the Welsh side.
    But there’s no accounting for depression and how it effects one.
    Gary for me, was a true professional, always in shape, unselfish, was’nt the fastest or the most skillfull, but knew how to maximise his talents, with a great footballing brain.
    A player who was respected by managers and fellow players alike, who could have easily slotted into any team.
    He was a great servant to our club and i was sorry to see him leave.
    Just as I am equally sorry, shocked and a bit depressed at his death.

  11. Worky, there are so many I could think of who would be so arrogant and pompous, I couldn’t even hazard a guess.

    But it wasn’t Mr Burns the health minister himself perchance. My Other guess would be Boris.

    Most of them haven’t a clue what happens in the real world.

  12. Grumpy Old-Toon says:

    November 28, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    “But it wasn’t Mr Burns the health minister himself perchance.”

    No not Burns, it was the proper Minister of Health. Grumpy. That’s who I thought you meant in the first place.

  13. I used to know someone who made sandwiches for Cameron at a place near Conservative central office too. She didn’t like him at all. She told me that he used talk down to her, and ordinary people in general like they were pieces of shite. That was the gist of it anyway as a was a Christian lady who didn’t swear.

  14. Tripp says:

    November 28, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    “Monty Burns?”

    I think he means Simon Burns Tripp, a health minister over here. Though there doesn’t seem to be much difference on terms of arrogance.

  15. Yeah, that was defo tongue in cheek, and kinda my point.

    The piping world went through a similar situation to Gary’s a few months back with the death of Alasdair Gillies, one of the most successful pipers of the 20th century (in fact, THE most successful competition piper). To many of us, his death came as a complete shock, he was only 47. He also left behind family.

    I hope that we can gain a better understanding of A.) the cause of this kind of debilitating and often lethal depression.

    and B.) be more aware that it exists and how to spot it in our friends and colleagues. I hope that Stan Collymore’s example, being about to be open and honest about his illness, will save some lives and help to erase the stigma that mental illness has in so many of the different world cultures. Hopefully it already has done.

    RIP Gary. My thoughts are with his family during this tragic and very difficult time. I wish I could have seen him play for the shirt. He was already at Bolton when I start following NUFC (and football in general).

  16. Tripp,
    Gary Speed had all the qualities that you find in a player that becomes a club legend.
    Ever dependable, always fit, never shirked, popped up with timely goals, marshaled the team & always, always ‘showed up’.

    A true Geordie legend!

  17. Tripp,

    he really was a great all-rounder & a proper nice guy.

    No airs or graces just down to earth ‘wysiwyg’ kinda lad!

    He’ll be sorely missed, not least by his bairns.

    That’s the saddest thing!

  18. With a passing thought about our next fixture rifling throu my brain, i cant help wanting a draw, and dreaming of a win.

    But what team/formation, will be best to unlock Chelsea’s 4-3-3, their dodgey defender Luiz, lethal Sturridge, and ever-present Lampard…??

    Marv is now a gonner for almost all the season, and Obertan flatters to decieve at times, altho possessing blistering pace….JOnas will be suspended…So:


    Or: Match them on the 4-3-3:


    Floaters: Gosling/Sammy/Shola….Santon in midfield?Vucikc??

  19. This is a very sad loss. He was a great man, oh and btw i don’t think this had anything to do with the pressure of being a football manager. He was starting to do a realy good job with Wales. Of course no one knows the facts but he may have suffered from depression.

  20. CLiNT FLiCK says:

    November 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    “& always, always ‘showed up’.”

    Aye Clint, some people hardly ever “show up”. They just let others in the team do all the work.

  21. worky,

    Aye mate.

    we’ve seen a few of them down the decades, hey?

    BTW mate,
    i’ve put a match report in the can.

    It seemed trivial with what’s happened, but i felt it should be done & pushed on through.

  22. a true legend and a genuine nice guy,who would not want a gary speed type player in thier team now,?.i feel privileged to have watched you play in a black and white shirt,god bless you and your family at this sad time.

  23. Worky a bit belated, but it was Simon Burns who made the Zombie comment in a commons debate on the proposed NHS changes. I assumed he was The Health Minister, for some reason but it is of course actually Mr (Andrew?) Lansley, both it would seem speaking from the same party line.

  24. Aye Grumpy, that was Burns.

    Burns is “Minister of State for Health” but the most important one, the one commonly regarded as “Minister of Health” is actually the “Secretary of State for Health”. It’s very confusing I know, and that title actually sounds less important if amything. Secretary of State for Health is that snotty, self important little twatface, Andrew Lansley.

    I’ve met Tony Benn and Red Ken, they were alright. Most of the rest of ’em are beneath contempt.

  25. What can I say about Gary Speed? I’ve said for years even on this blog our midfield was never the same when Gary and Robert lee left. Even though they were older players we never got any one close to the talent they were, as a replacement. I’ve said it for years. Our team crumbled when they left. We lost not only two talented players but grit determination and loyalty. Some things you just don’t find in players these days. When Gary took over as Sheffield united manager I looked and hoped he would be a success when he took over the Wales job I found myself following Wales not England. I can remember feeling gutted England had beaten Wales in those euro group stages. I was born in Newcastle 1979 and I’ve always been a Geordie never British or English forever the geordie. Either it was just my views or personal feeling or Gary had people following him. Why? Because he was good to follow he was good to watch. As a man he was a good example and with standards of men so low right now inspiration has to come from somewhere. Gary speed broke the mould there wasn’t another like him. Few players have been good enough or nice enough to play until 40 years old. If you aren’t a nice guy someone will hurt you. And it takes a nice guy to be able to play for so long and so good so much so that even position players never seemed to go in to hard on tackles with Gary. I can never remember a time when Gary was chopped down or hurt and that just shows how well Liked the guy was amongst his rivals,peers and colleagues. I just hope people can learn from this and make sure we all do what ever is humanly possible to help those close to us who have struggled with problems and who are at risk. So let us make sure we least give someone a smile a cup of tea a chat if we know they have a problem. In Garys’ case no one knew but it doesn’t mean we can’t try. Let make sure this doesn’t happen again to anyone no matter what walk of life they are from. R.I.P Gary you made many of us very happy thank you for two FA cup finals. God bless.

  26. Loved the guy for his approachability and genuine concern for fans of his team as well as others.

    Used to speak after matches when we had our Company Season Tickets for the Bamburgh Suite. Never seemd troubled or annoyed even by my usual drunken blatherings (Got four bottles of wine to each table as memory serves – or maybe that was just our table :) )

    Cannot begin to understand why anyone would take their own life, precious as it is, and particularly when its someone as popular and successful as Speedo appeared to be ?

    Football (and all its petty squabbles) pales into insignificance on tragic days such as Sunday.

    PS Now that Speedo ‘s gone can I just remind all followers that it was the Fat Phucker who got rid of him at SJP just as he did SBR. The current tw@t in charge and his arse licking sidekick are jointly Public Enemy No.1 but FFS runs him a very close second.