Unspoken: Gary Speed

The Family's Untold Story

James Richardson

A story of a well loved player who sadly ended his own life and left many questions

Gary Speed was a professional footballer who won the First Division title in 1992, and went on to play 535 games in the Premier League. He played for Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United, and gained 85 caps for Wales, in a career that ended when he was 39. He swiftly took to management with Sheffield United and then Wales in 2010. His death by suicide 11 months later in November 2011, aged 42, shocked the football world.

The book details his career from a teenager at Leeds and the success he enjoyed so early on, to the 4 other clubs where he made his name over so many years. It features his wife and family, and many players and coaches who knew 'Speedo' well. What comes through is that this is a story of a well loved and respected player who sadly ended his own life, leaving so many unanswered questions.

If Gary Speed was ill for a long time without people knowing then this can be seen as a story about men not talking about mental health. If he became ill rapidly then it can be seen as a story of how quickly our mental health can change and the impact this can have. It is hard to imagine he was not ill, but if so, and yet took his own life, it is a story of the unknowable.

What is clear, is that he was a very much loved and respected man and footballer, and he is sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.

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