Thursday, September 8, 2011

8 September 1969 - Wales Adds Some Speed

On 8 September 1969, former Welsh national team captain and current manager Gary Speed was born in Mancot, Wales. With 85 appearances for the national team, he remains the most-capped outfield player for Wales and the second most-capped player overall.

In 1990, while playing for Leeds United, Speed earned his first cap in friendly against Costa Rica, which Wales won 1-0. He retired from international play after a 3-2 loss to Poland in an October 2004 World Cup qualifier. It was his 85th cap, just seven shy of goalkeeper Neville Southall's all-time record, but ten more than the next highest outfield player, striker Dean Saunders.

He continued his club career for another six years, with spells at Everton (1996-98), Newcastle (1998-2004), Bolton (2004-08), and Sheffield United (2008-10). He moved directly into coaching with Sheffield United, taking over as manager in August 2010.

Although he had signed a three-year contract with Sheffield United, Wales lured him away in December 2010. Since then, he has guided the Dragons to a record of 2 wins and 5 losses, including a close 1-0 defeat to England at Wembley earlier this week.

[Update: Speed died in November 2011, reportedly by suicide, though the coroner could not determine whether he had intended to kill himself.]

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