Tuesday, 29 November 2011

No answers to the questions swirling around Gary Speed's death

The mystery surrounding the tragic death of Wales manager Gary Speed deepens. Yesterday, his close friend Alan Shearer asked the question everyone needs answered. He said simply: “Why Speedo, didn't you give me or one of your other close mates a ring, if you were feeling so bad?”
And Speed’s agent Hayden Evans, best man at his wedding to wife Louise, failed to cast any further light on the 42-year-old’s apparent decision to hang himself in the garage of his Cheshire home on Saturday night. He said: "Louise is bewildered. They didn’t argue. She just doesn't understand it."
A post-mortem will be held today at 3pm GMT where details of Speed’s death will be clarified. Current reports suggest he may have hung himself at around 11.30pm on Saturday night. Police were called to the house in Huntingdon at 7am on Sunday morning and the news of his death was released just before Swansea City – the only Welsh side in the Premier League - kicked-off their game against Aston Villa.
After a minute’s silence filled with warm applause, Speed’s former Newcastle team-mate, Villa goalkeeper Shay Given, was inconsolable, weeping openly as a 0-0 draw which should never have been played dragged to a conclusion. What was it Bill Shankly said? “Football isn’t life and death. It’s more important than that.” Bollocks.
But the mystery remains. Speed appeared on BBC’s Football Forum in Manchester on Saturday morning, where he talked on air with former Leeds team-mate Gary McAllister, making jokes and promising to play golf next week. He then watched a televised game with Shearer in the studio.
As rumours of a row with Louise and a possible kiss-and-tell story lurking in the tabloids swirled around the internet, Hayden told The Sun this morning: "Gary and Louise were happily married and anyone who knows them will tell you that. This is why it's a mystery.
"We genuinely at the moment have no clue whatsoever what has caused it and I have been with the family all day. Everybody is asking the same question and no one has an answer. We are all in shock."
Many on Twitter have asked if Speed suffered from depression, blamed for the attempted suicides of boxer Frank Bruno and footballer Paul Gascoigne, sportsmen of similar ages over the past decade.
But with Speed taking Wales 70 places up the FIFA rankings in less than a year and widely revered for being a level-headed veteran of 840 games including a record 84 games for his nation before his retirement, there is no suggestion of any mental illness. Never has been.
Hayden, who said Speed was “happy as can be” when they spoke on the telephone on Saturday night, insisted: “Bouts of depression? None whatsoever. The one thing the family and me - as one of his closest friends - would totally refute is that. There was no indication of any problems and never has been."
Shearer is equally mystified. The pair played together at Newcastle for six winters and still take family holidays together. He said: "The question I keep asking myself and have done since I heard the dreadful news is 'Why? Why Speedo, didn't you give me or one of your other close mates a ring, if you were feeling so bad?'
"Why he couldn't have picked up the phone for a chat in those moments before he did what he did, I'll never know. None of us will.
"I was with him on Saturday watching the Stoke game and arranging next weekend.

"He was coming up with his wife to stay at my house. We were going to various charity dinners. I left the studio, shook his hand and said, 'See you next weekend.' Unfortunately I won't."
Shearer, like so many in football this week, is finding the loss of one of the game’s most respected players impossible to accept: "This just doesn't happen to one of your best mates. My wife is in bits. We just keep thinking of Louise, the two boys and his mum and dad. I can't imagine the pain they're going through. I can't get my head around the fact I was with him and he was happy, joking.
"We were having a laugh and joke about golf trips and holidays that we went on together last year. We were planning our next holiday in Portugal next summer with the families and the kids.
"I played against him many times, but when Kenny Dalglish signed him for Newcastle straight away we struck up a relationship. You're bound to have arguments along the way in football — but no one ever did with Gary.
"No one had a bad word for him. He was what you'd describe as a proper bloke, a proper man. You could depend on him."


  1. Post mortem/inquest will reconvene next year... brief sitting today heard how wife Louise found Gary in garage just before 7am on Sunday morning. No new developments otherwise.

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