A game that glories in its own pomposity, that claims to represent life and death in all their harrowing reality, was rocked Sunday by news of the suicide of one of its great and good.
Gary Speed — son, father, teammate and coach — was respected by all who knew him. His patience, charisma and dedication powered an understated yet elegant career. In an era of transition and financial overhaul, Speed’s modest and straight forward interactions with fans and the press made him a role model among many less virtuous peers.
“He played the game the right way: with commitment, with honesty and with a sense of adventure,” wrote Henry Winter in The Telegraph. The commitment earned him more than 500 Premier League appearances; the sense of adventure guided his selection of a number of young, inexperienced Welsh players. The honesty made him one of the best-loved men in the game.