Newcastle hero Gary Speed would have turned 50 on Sunday, and will always be remembered by fans for his combative, cultured displays in the black and white shirt.
Speed made 213 appearances for the Toon, scoring 29 goals during that time, and was one of Sir Bobby Robson’s ‘blue-chip’ players, along with the likes of Alan Shearer, Rob Lee and Warren Barton.
His partnership with Lee was something Steve Bruce would love to see emulated by Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden, but they have a very long way to go before they get anywhere near that level.
The ultimate professional, Speed also played 85 times for the Welsh national side, and you never heard him complaining about defeats or being dropped from the side.
He also went on to manage the Welsh side, of course, before his life tragically ended in 2011.
Hopefully Speed’s death has helped others struggling
The events around the midfielders death are well documented, with the Guardian reporting during the inquest, that the coroner could not determine that there was enough evidence to say whether his death was intentional or accidental.
But Speed’s wife, Louise, hopes his death may help others struggling with thoughts of ending their life, by describing to the Mirror the torment she suffered.
But he will always be seen as a hero to the Newcastle supporters, and they were quick to show their affection for Speed on social media.
RIP Gary…a true icon in the black and white shirt. Gave his all everytime he put the shirt on. Remember him scoring a header at home to Blackburn from about 18 yards!
— Simon Horn (@SimonHo91784269) September 8, 2019
Fantastic player ,RIP Speedo 🌟
— ⬜⬛SWAMPY⬛⬜ (@10Swampmonster) September 8, 2019
👍🏼👏 Such a waste. If your struggling please talk. We will listen 💪 pic.twitter.com/SQcS8XULdf
— Jason (@Fleason77) September 8, 2019
I actually burst into tears after seeing Shay Given crying on the pitch for his mate. Should still be here. RIP
— ⚫️Paul Usher (@Paul_Usher1) September 8, 2019
What a player, top draw
— Mark (@mja1980) September 8, 2019
— Lewis Allen (@lewyallen88) September 8, 2019
What a signing for #nufc and what a player!
— BradleyIainHall (@BradleyIainHal1) September 8, 2019
Share and listen to your family and friends; they may need it more than you think.
Rest in peace Gary.
— Samiul Hoque Chowdhury (@chowsamihq) September 8, 2019
Along with Robert. He was my fav player growing up. Wat a baller he was and he is sadly missed in football
— Joe (@Joenufc1987) September 8, 2019
Gary will never be forgotten with US Geordies, he an adopted Geordie. This absolutely devastated me.
— callum lewis (@callum592) September 8, 2019