Weep For Speed

Wales national football team manager and former captain Gary Speed was found dead over the weekend, only hours after appearing on BBC One’s Football Focus. He was only 42 years old.

Sources have said Speed, the national manager for nearly a year, was found hanged.

Cheshire Police confirmed he was found dead at 07:08 GMT at his home in Huntington, Chester. They said there were no suspicious circumstances.

Former Wales team mate Ryan Giggs said: “Words cannot begin to describe how sad I feel at hearing this awful news.”

As someone who has just recently tried to get into soccer, I can’t provide the context or gravity necessary for a situation like this. As someone who has tried his entire life to understand death and suicide, I’m even worse. The “was found hanged” part of the sentence makes sharing his stats and accomplishments seem empty, and someone being found hanged not constituting suspicious circumstances says something horrible for the world we live in, but here we go.

Speed remains the most capped outfield player for Wales, having appeared 85 times at senior level between 1990 and 2004. He held the record for the most appearances in the FA Premier League at 535, until David James surpassed him. More importantly than all that, he’s being remembered right now by the international community as an ambassador for the game, a consummate professional and more or less the kind of guy who makes the world sh*ttier by not being around.

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan tweeted: “This is a sad day for football and for everyone in Wales. Gary Speed served club and country as a player and manager with great distinction.”

Andrew RT Davies, Welsh Conservatives leader, said: “Gary Speed was tremendously gifted and I – along with millions of others – will always remember him as a legend in the game of football.”

Hopefully one day we’ll understand it a little more, if understanding is a thing that ever happens.