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Gary Speed 1969-2011

The breaking news was both shocking and heart wrenching; as I write this I still feel partly numb as my sympathy lies with his young family.

Gary Speed was an original Premier League stalwart, notching up 535 Premiership appearances and scoring 81 goals in sixteen different seasons in the revamped top flight.

During his peak, which many would say he enjoyed in the black and white of Newcastle, he was one of the most recognisable faces in the game-at the time I first started to watch football. As a result of being one of the first players I knew, this news is very hard hitting.

What perhaps makes this news ever more anguishing is the fact that Speed has yet again been making headlines more recently due to his management of an exciting, resurgent Welsh national team. A whole nation once resigned had become excited ahead of the 2014 World Cup qualification campaign.

Gary Speed certainly had a fantastic past, and an equally bright future.

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