Gary Speed was the ultimate pro, racking up over 500 games in the Prem and never let the Toon down whenever he played.
What makes this all the more shocking is that anyone who tuned into BBC's Football Focus yesterday would have seen Speedy sat next to Gary McAllister in the studio talking about the good old days with Leeds plus also the future of Wales. He mentioned the tough group they were in and spoke of the decent future ahead for Welsh football. Nobody watching him yesterday would have any idea what was to come. Absolutely shocking.
On a personal note, I took part in a charity match 10 years ago through www.footballaid.com at St James' Park and I had myself the NUFC No.11 shirt as you lined up to play for 'Newcastle' to live the dream, as they put it. You sat in the home dressing room before the game with your name on the back of the shirt and as I looked around and sat in my place I said the words, "Speedy sits here". That signed shirt (by Beardsley) takes on a new significance for myself now.
He was showing signs of a decent manager, turning a poor Wales team into a not bad outfit with some decent results. If indeed he has took his own life through depression, it is a very sad end to a cracking pro but more importantly, a cracking person on all accounts.
RIP Speedy, you will be missed.
Speedy with Sir Bob picking up a merit award for 400 games in the Prem.