By George & Tom Chellis
As I’m sure most of you are aware, last week marked the 2 year anniversary of the tragic death of Leeds United legend Gary Speed. With this in mind, we wanted to pay our respects to a true great in the history of our club.
Almost unanimously considered to be one of the most talented players ever to pull on the white shirt, Speedo was influential in the development of our club during his years in Yorkshire. Earning his first senior contract in 1988, he instantly became a fan favourite. Making his first appearance in 1989 vs Oldham at Elland Rd, Speedo quickly became a key cog in the Leeds United engine. Scoring 57 goals in his 312 appearances for the club, he epitomised the term ‘all-round midfielder’, contributing to his side winning the 1992 Football League First Division title. His efforts did not go unnoticed, and Speed was selected for the PFA Team of the Year for the 1992-93 season, alongside fellow Welshman Ryan Giggs, Alan Shearer and Roy Keane. Not only this, former manager Howard Wilkinson granted him the accolade of Player of the Season in 1992.
Gary went on to become a United hero and helped to form one of the best midfield partnerships in the modern era alongside Batty, Strachan and McAllister. This, in part, contributed to his impressive record in his time at United, only losing 46 of the 143 games he played in (34%). Moving on from his tenure in United colours, Speed was the proverbial bridesmaid, reaching 3 major finals without finishing on the winning side on any occasion (1 of which for Leeds, losing to Villa in the 1996 League Cup). This unfortunate record does not detract from his other career achievements; he was the first player ever to gain 500 premier league appearances.
The high regard in which Speedo is held by Leeds fans has never been more evident than during the poignant remembrance applause that takes place on the 11th minute at games. This is also the case at St James’ Park, and it is no surprise that arguably 2 of the most vociferous and fanatical set of supporters in English football provide such a fitting tribute to a man who left such a mark on fans, ex-players and football enthusiasts alike. Just days after his passing, an inspired United systematically took apart a Nottingham Forest side, proving just how much of an inspiration Gary proved to be even for players who weren’t fortunate enough to play alongside him. Gone but not forgotten, Speedo will always live on in the memories of any Leeds United fan, and long may that
We have gathered a list below of some of your glowing tributes to the man.
Marching on Together.
@lufcstats: The moment Snoddy scored at forest....After 11 minutes of Gary Speed will live with me for ever and a day
@haighdavid: RIP Gary Speed, your legend lives on forever! #speedo #lufc
@Jordan_Armo: Such a waste of talent taken from us way too early #lufc and the rest of the football world still in mourning after this tragic loss he may be gone but his legacy lives on #RIPSPEEDO OH GARY GARY GARY GARY GARY SPEED #MOT
@weareleeds_: As a kid when the training ground used to be on the car park round back of ER, there was a training session on & got invited to do a bit of ball work from the doorman who used to work at ER, I was so nervous & excited, seeing the likes of Speed, McAllister Strachan, it was a dream come true, got pictures with them, they were all very nice. Like Speed, he was a player that every kid wanted to be. I will never forget that day, it was the 1st thing I thought of that tragic morning 2 years ago.
@mattjpsmith: RIP Gary Speed. Legend.
@LeedsUtdPics: I never saw him play for Leeds, but was there when we beat Forest 4-0 with the eleven minutes for Gary speed, my favourite moment in football when Snodgrass scored a couple of seconds after we finished the eleven minutes! You couldn't write it, no one could believe it!
@LeedsUnitedLiam: Nottingham Forrest away when we beat them 4-0, unbelievable game, all for Gary Speed!
@waynesnodin: To me personally he was part of a fantastic midfield, Speed, Batty, Strachan & Mcallister. He had everything including looks. One of the best headers of the ball I’ve ever seen. Always remember the commentator v Sheffield Utd when Speed out through by Camara “Go on Gary get one yourself son & he did. LEGEND
@craigstewart79: I met him the once, it was 1990 vs spurs & he'd just signed loads of autographs. He was halfway back down the tunnel & I shouted 'Gary' he came all the way back up & signed my programme. I remember a big smile on his face too. He was my childhood hero & someone who I wanted to be like. I felt like a part of my childhood was taken away 2 years ago RIP