World Cup - Tributes pour in for Speed

Sun, 27 Nov 13:10:00 2011

As news of the untimely death of Wales manager Gary Speed spread across the world, top figures from the world of sport paid tribute to one of the gentlemen of the game.

Gary Speed Sheffield United - 0

"It was best for me to make the decision for Craig (Bellamy) today. He was very, very close to Gary, who was almost a mentor for him, someone he admired and looked up to, and he was upset. There's no way that a game of football is more important than grief - and that was the decision I made. (Speed) was a smashing lad and was really well respected. We don't know the circumstances obviously, and there'll be a lot of people who are saddened at what's happened, but I think the most important people at this particular moment in time is his wife and kids - they must be absolutely devastated. It's a times like this that the football becomes a wee bit irrelevant. 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 £5million 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." - Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool and former Newcastle manager

"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." - Ryan Giggs, who played with Speed for Wales

"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." - Alan Shearer, Speed's former Newcastle team-mate

"He had so much to offer as a person and as a sportsman. I just find it unbelievable. I cannot start to try to understand what his family are going through. Gary had a lot of talent and that talent became his job. Footballers are subject to all the stress and strains of things that happen in life. I always tried to get to know my players very well. He was a star in the truest sense. For him at 42 to leave us is such a tragic loss. He had a life of success to look forward to.... Gary had none of those things which we associate with sportsmen. He was ordinary as a bloke, very nice, very genuine, very honest, very hardworking. He was a joy to manage. I think I played Gary in every position apart from goalkeeper, and never even once did his face change or did he seem annoyed when I told him." - Howard Wilkinson, Speed's manager at Leeds

"Devastated. Gary was a fantastic player, top pro & genuine guy who it was a privilege to work with & call a friend." - Mark Hughes, former Wales team-mate and manager of Speed's

"I just can't believe it. I spoke to him last week. We roomed together all of our careers with Wales. I just can't get my head around it. It's incredible. He's so level-headed. You never saw him down in the dumps. He was just a really nice fella. I'm just thinking about his wife and his lads." - Dean Saunders, former Wales team-mate of Speed

"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. He was upbeat on phone yesterday when we were laughing together, talking football and dancing he was a great team-mate and a great friend." - Robbie Savage, another Wales team-mate of Speed

"It is a sad, sad day. I played with him when I came through the ranks. He helped me through, he was an absolute machine - the best professional in football. He had that aura about him. He always had time for the young lads and helped them feel good about themselves." - Steven Taylor of Newcastle United

"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." - Aaron Ramsey of Wales and Arsenal

"I'm stunned and a few tears have been shed. It is so sad." - Bobby Gould, who made Speed Wales captain

"Just cannot believe the news regarding Gary Speed. We waved at each other a couple of days ago dropping our kids off at school. I'm numb." - Michael Owen

"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." - Tim Cahill

"Absolutely tragic news about Gary Speed. So sad for his young family." - Gareth Southgate

"RIP Gary speed thoughts are with your family proud to have known and played with such a great guy in Speedo." - Michael Chopra, who played with Speed at Newcastle

"Incredibly shocking and tragic breaking news. Wales manager Gary Speed has died at the age of 42. RIP Gary." - Mikel Arteta

"R.I.P Gary Speed. My condolences go out to his family. Great guy sad loss." - Jermain Defoe

"Gutted to hear Gary Speed has died. Great player and a great guy." - Joe Calzaghe

As news of the untimely death of Wales manager Gary Speed spread across the world, top figures from the world of sport paid tribute to him. - 2

Reuters / PA Sport / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account