Gary Speed’s sons recall the heartbreaking and shockingly sad moment that their Dad took his own life nine years ago today.
It was on the 27th of November 2011 that the nation was stunned at learning the death of the former Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton, Sheffield United and Wales midfielder.
He finished top of the First Division and Second Division (League One table) in two separate seasons with Leeds United.
His kids Tommy and Ed, who were teenagers when Speed passed away, have both spoken openly about the discovery of their Dad taking his own life.
Remembering the great Gary Speed, nine years on from his tragic passing.
Always in our hearts. 💙 pic.twitter.com/mSJCJ0Edzq
— EFL (@EFL) November 27, 2020
The then Wales manager was just 42-years-old and left behind two teenage sons and wife, Louise, with his last TV appearance on Football Focus a day before his life ended.
Both Tommy and Ed believe their dad had “the perfect life” having surrounded himself with loved ones after transitioning from a player to a manager.
Ed saw his Mum on the morning before they both went upstairs to tell Tommy.
The boys were just 14 and 13 at the time but have since chosen to open up on the horrid day.
Today is the 9th anniversary of Gary Speed’s death. I was privileged to speak to his 2 lads (Ed & Tommy) for my book (see video below).
It’s so important to talk to our friends & family members who might be struggling.
Talking can be daunting… but it could save a life. pic.twitter.com/cWeR1UGHKw
— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) November 27, 2020
Ed, the eldest, revealed: “I remember it vividly. Mum and Dad went out for the night and me and Tommy had a few friends over.
“As they left, Dad reminded us to make sure we were in bed by midnight and that was it.
“The next morning I was woken up by Mum screaming for me, or just screaming, I can’t quite remember.
“She was outside and she had seen Dad through the window of the garage.
“I ran downstairs and she was struggling to breathe and talk. You know, you don’t want to see your mum like that. No one does.
“She was just in shock. She told me not to look in the garage but…it still haunts me what I saw… Dad suffering like that.
“I went back out to Mum and we called the ambulance. I wasn’t really thinking about what was happening, I just knew I needed to help Mum.
“We were in the kitchen speaking to the person on the other end and they talked us through what to do. It was just so unexpected.
“A complete and utter shock. I couldn’t really comprehend what was going on but at the same time I had so many questions.
“Mum and I knew we had to go and tell Tom.”
“They came into my bedroom and woke me up,” Tommy added.
“Ed just said, ‘Dad’s gone’ and we all hugged. Ed told us that we had to stay strong.
“Dad was the glue that held the whole family together.
“He was always the one who was running family barbecues, getting people together, telling jokes, organising games. He loved being around people who he loved, and he loved us.”
Today marks nine years since the tragic passing of Gary Speed.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) November 27, 2020
Both his sons, who are now 23 and 22 respectively, have a huge amount of gratitude for the lessons their father taught them.
Tommy said: “I learned everything from him.
“It would just be nice to thank him for all that he did for us both.”
Ed added: “We’ve got to get on with it, with life. It’s hard. You often think, ‘would he be happy with what we’ve done?’ or ‘would he be proud?’.
“Sometimes, if I’ve played a good game of football, I want to look at my phone and see that it’s my dad calling to say “well done”.
“When I graduated with a degree in economics in the summer, I would have liked nothing more than my dad to call me and tell me how proud he was. I know he would be. That’s all he wanted for us.
“I’d love to know if he thinks we’ve done OK without him.”
“We both know that things would be different if he was still here. He was everything to us, but we also know we have to get on with life.
“I can still hear his voice in my head. That will always be a part of us.”
🖤 Nine years ago, Gary Speed tragically passed away.
Rest well, Speedo. Never forgotten. pic.twitter.com/nPsu6kuJBs
— Bolton Wanderers (@OfficialBWFC) November 27, 2020
In the aftermath of his death, there was still questions asked, including by Tommy and Ed who still seek answers.
They both admit to feeling anger at times, but they try not to hold on to the negative emotion.
Ed said: “The anger never lasts long. I just miss him. I miss my dad.”
Tommy added: “It feels mean to say I’m angry at him, but sometimes… yeah. But you can’t look back and let that eat you up.
“I still ask questions. We both still ask those questions. We’d be mad not to. He wasn’t depressed. There was just something in his brain. I have always said I can’t quite put my finger on it.”
Sport as a whole has spoken more about mental health in recent years and more so since Speed’s passing.
He was often happy to share with those close to him and it has left Ed questioning why he didn’t.
He added: “Dad had the perfect life, but something was going on, or something happened and, for whatever reason, he didn’t look for help.
“That wasn’t him. He would always talk about things but, when it came down to it, he didn’t and I don’t know why.
“I can’t explain it now because he just had so much to look forward to.”
Heartfelt comments were posted when reading Gary Speed’s sons recall the heartbreaking moment their Dad took his own life…
When Gary Speed died I was struggling. Sometimes in life you believe in something, such as the business you are in, I happened to be in a bad business. Living a debauched life. That day I was so sad about Gary forgetting about myself. Luckily my close family came to the rescue.
— Dan Bennett (@DanBennett78) November 27, 2020
Thank you, Dan for sharing your thoughts here so honestly and openly. I remember hearing the news of Gary Speer’s death and it staying with me for days. I can’t begin to imagine what it was like for his boys and his friends. Look after yourself.
— Rev Dan Crouch ن (@RevDanCrouch) November 27, 2020
What happened to Gary Speed and why has always intrigued me. I remember being in complete shock when news broke, someone who appeared top of their game, happy and successful on tv etc. Such a shame
— Matthew Shirazi (@MattShirazi) November 27, 2020
A simple chat could save someone’s life. I know that from experience with a very much loved one. Gary’s boys are a total credit to him, and their mother x
— Mandy (@MandyMoos) November 27, 2020
This is so good to speak about, I lost my father the same way 34 years tomorrow it still hurts but getting easier. The same way as Ed I had to grow up over night to be with my sisters & mum. I was 17 at the time had family & friends around me
— Yvonne Price 🏴🏴 (@brecongirl) November 27, 2020
I was in recovery following being rescued by close family in November 2011, exactly nine years ago. I was able to get my head together to complete many experiments into human biology at the leisure centre, over the course of many years. I needed this moment to avoid a lost decade
— Dan Bennett (@DanBennett78) November 27, 2020
I’m the same mate. To me he was and still is the face of the Premier League! A guy with so much to live for and so much to give but somehow he couldn’t find the strength to fight off the demons! 😔
— NEAL (@NealHelly) November 8, 2020
Football League First Division: 1991–92
Football League Second Division: 1989–90
FA Charity Shield: 1992
Football League Cup runner-up: 1995–96
FA Cup runner-up: 1997–98, 1998–99
PFA Team of the Year: 1992–93 Premier League
1984–1988 – Leeds United
1988–1996 – Leeds United – 248 games (39 goals)
1996–1998 – Everton – 58 games (16 goals)
1998–2004 – Newcastle United – 213 games (29 goals)
2004–2008 – Bolton Wanderers – 121 games (14 goals)
2008–2010 – Sheffield United – 37 games (6 goals)
Total – 677 games (104 goals)
1990–1991 – Wales U21 – 3 games (2 goals)
1990–2004 – Wales – 85 games (7 goals)
2010 – Sheffield United
2010–2011 – Wales