Thursday, September 8, 2016

8 September 1969 - Wales Adds Some Speed

On 8 September 1969, former Welsh national team captain and 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. He remained in charge of the national team until his death by hanging in November 2011. Although the event was self-inflicted, it has not been officially ruled a suicide, as the coroner could not determine whether Speed had intended to kill himself.

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