Gary Speed: Reaction in quotes

Following the death of Gary Speed on Sunday, the world of sport has been paying tribute to the 42-year-old Wales manager.

Speed played for Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United before taking over the Wales job in December 2010.

Here, BBC Sport rounds up some of the reaction and tributes from officials, players and fans.


Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford: "I, and all of the football family of Wales, am devastated by the news of Gary's passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family at this difficult time."

FAW president Phil Pritchard: "I am completely shocked by this terrible news and my thoughts are with his family. We will do whatever we can as an association to help them in this difficult time."

Wales captain and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey on Twitter:external-link "I was given the tragic news this morning. To say I am devastated is an understatement. My thoughts and prayers go out to Gary's family and friends. Today the world has lost a great football manager but even more sadly a great man. He will be missed by all."

Wales and Reading striker Simon Church on Twitter:external-link "I can't believe it, what a great man and a true Welsh footballing legend. A great inspiration to all. RIP Gary Speed."

Wales and Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley on Twitter:external-link "So saddened by the loss of a great guy, manager and footballer. It was a pleasure to work under him. My thoughts are with his family."

Wales and Cardiff City forward Robert Earnshaw on Twitter:external-link "I am in total shock at the news of Gary Speed. I was blessed enough to played with him and then be managed by him with Wales."

Wales and Nottingham Forest defender Chris Gunter on Twitter:external-link "Completely devastated by the news. My thoughts and prayers are with Gary's family and children. A role model and inspiration. Rip gaffer."


Former Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson: "I've known Gary since 1988 when I joined Leeds and I've rarely come across a better balanced, lovely, genuine person. For him - at 42 - to leave us is such a tragic loss. I cannot start to try and understand what his family are going through at this time."

Leeds manager Simon Grayson, who was an apprentice with Speed at the Elland Road club: "It is an unbelievably sad day. Speedo was a true friend and a very, very popular man. We signed on the same day and played in the youth and reserve teams together. We also did all our coaching badges together. He was a good friend and this is a very sad day.

Leeds United Supporters' Club treasurer Phil Beeton: "Gary was a valued member of the team during the 90s. He was a great footballer who always gave 100 per cent and was up there with the best midfielders we've ever had at this club. He got better as his career progressed. He often came back to our functions and is held in the highest regard by all Elland Road fans."

Former Everton manager Joe Royle: "He always had a smile on his face, he played with a smile on his face and he was one of the best players I was fortunate enough to manage and handle and I still can't believe it. He wanted to come (to Everton) when his time had run out at Leeds and he was ready for a change and it wasn't a hard deal to do because he wanted to come and he was always a Blue. He was part of the North Wales-Everton supporters' band and from the minute he came he was perfect for the club."

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside: "We are all stunned at the news of Gary. Not only was he a top-class professional but was a wonderful person who is very fondly remembered by all of us and our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with his family at this time."

Former Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell. "Gary was developing a plan [at Wales]. The first few games they weren't very good but he knew that. He was very excited about the players he had with Wales. He knew he could turn it around. They were playing some terrific stuff under Gary. He was a great raconteur. He was a first-class man and leaves behind such a legacy."

Newcastle statement: "Gary was an inspirational and much-loved player at Newcastle United during his time with the club from 1998 to 2004, making 285 appearances and scoring 40 goals. He was an excellent servant to the club, the ultimate professional, and an exceptional role model for younger players."

Preston manager Phil Brown, who coached Speed at Bolton: "He was a fabulous lad, a great professional, a great character and in the first part of my career as a coach you couldn't ask for anyone better to work with. He was a great example setter for everyone, on and off the field and you just can't believe it. When I was starting out as a coach, he was one of the greats of the world of football and it was a joy and pleasure to be with him."

Former Newcastle team-mate Alan Shearer: "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."

Former Wales team-mate Robbie Savage on Twitter:external-link "The world has lost a great man in Gary Speed. I'm devastated spoke to him yesterday morning why ! Why. Why !! I'll miss him so much x"


Newcastle defender Steven Taylor: "I'm totally shocked. He was a top, top man and the complete professional. When I was coming through the ranks he was the player that all the young lads looked up to and he was always giving you advice and making sure you did the right things. His loss to football is immense."

Manchester United striker Michael Owen: "He was a gentleman and his footballing ability is without question but I would focus on him as a person.

"Gary probably lived 10 miles away from me and the other day I saw him on the way to school on the kids' run and we shared a wave as we drove past each other. It's a terrible loss and the mood of Cheshire was just utter shock and disbelief and devastation that he leaves a lovely family behind."

Spain and Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso on Twitter:external-link "RIP Gary Speed. My first PL game game was against him, he showed me in that game what British football is about."

Everton captain Phil Neville on Twitter:external-link "Horrific news about Gary Speed. my thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Everton midfielder Tim Cahill on Twitter:external-link "Gary Speed was the ultimate pro on and off the pitch. So sad to lose someone so special to Football, Friends, Fans, Family Rest in Peace mate."

Arsenal captain Robin van Persie on Twitter:external-link "I heard the sad news about Gary Speed, great footballer my condolences and sympathies to his family."

Fulham and Northern Ireland defender Aaron Hughes: "Can't believe the news. I'm devastated. One of the greatest guys I've ever had the privilege of knowing. An idol in every sense."

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini: "I am very sorry for his family. It is a very bad thing. I remember him as a really good player. It is a very sad moment for everyone in football but in particular his family."

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish: "He was a very respected man in and around football, not only for his ability but for the guy as a person. I signed Gary for £5m from Everton and he did a fantastic job for us at Newcastle, during the time I was there and after I'd left as well."

Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers: "We're all shell-shocked. It was a real bombshell. Gary was a great Welshman and it's hard to take in. My players loved working with him with Wales and really enjoyed it. It's difficult to comprehend. We wanted to play the game for Gary Speed and it was a mark of respect to play the game for him."

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish: "My blood ran cold when I heard the news - it's absolutely horrific. Gary was doing fantastic with the Welsh team. It's very sad news."

Former Sunderland striker Niall Quinn: "This sad, sad news has devastated everyone at the club. His career speaks for itself but the esteem in which he was held universally was immense and absolutely unique. His enthusiasm, his spirit of fair play and the encouraging leader he became towards the end of his playing career seemed to be paving the way to a fantastic career in management."

Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer on Twitter:external-link "Very sad to hear about the death of Gary Speed, true gentleman, great role model & was a fantastic player! Our thoughts are with his family."

Former footballer and manager Iain Dowie: "He was such an effervescent and engaging character and was encouraging, warm, witty and caring. It's a tragic event. His wife and children have lost an amazing man."


Downing Street spokesman: "The Prime Minister was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Gary Speed, who was greatly respected by football fans across the country. The Prime Minister's thoughts are with Gary Speed's family and friends on this very sad day for fans everywhere, especially in Wales."

Football Association statement: "It is with great sadness that the FA has learned of the passing of Gary Speed. Gary had many friends at the FA, who are truly saddened by this news."

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore: "Gary will go down in history as one of our iconic players, he was a stand-out professional of the modern game and I'm sure all football fans across Britain will be deeply saddened at his untimely passing."

Scotland coach Craig Levein: "Football has lost a real talent and a gentleman; Gary was a young manager with the world at his feet. Stewart Regan [SFA chief executive] and I were laughing and joking with him just last week. He was doing some fantastic work with the Welsh national team and I was looking forward to pitting my wits against him over the next couple of years. My deepest sympathies go out to Gary's family and the football community in Wales."

BBC presenter Gabby Logan on Twitter:external-link "So many memories of Gary. I'm immobilised with sadness. Met him 1st when Dad [Terry Yorath] managed Wales then worked with him. It's all so unfathomable x"

Radio 1 DJ and Leeds fan Chris Moyles on Twitter:external-link "Just heard the very sad news about Gary Speed. Such a sad loss and so young. RIP."

Wales Rugby Union statement: "The thoughts of everyone involved in rugby are with you all at this sad time. Wales has lost a great sportsman, a true gentleman and a man who was working extremely hard and succeeding to deliver a bright future for Welsh football."

Welsh Rugby League statement: "Gary was a well loved person who will be missed by all who knew him."

Golfer Lee Westwood on Twitter:external-link "So sad to hear about Gary Speed. A true pro and really nice fella."

Golfer Ian Poulter on Twitter:external-link "So sad to here the news of Gary Speed. RIP. life was taken to quickly you will be missed by all. Thoughts are with the family."

Cricketer Graeme Swann on Twitter:external-link "I can't believe the news about Gary Speed, used to love watching him play for Newcastle."

Athlete Jessica Ennis on Twitter:external-link "Such sad news about Gary Speed. It's awful. My thoughts are with his family."

Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics: "This is tragic and sad news. Gary Speed was a wonderful servant to his clubs and country throughout his career. My thoughts are with his family."

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