Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Speedo Was 'Too Nice' ... Football Could Do with More like Him; Three Years after His Death, Neil Cameron Remembers Former Newcastle United Player Gary Speed as Genuinely One of the Most Popular Figures in Football

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Speedo Was 'Too Nice' ... Football Could Do with More like Him; Three Years after His Death, Neil Cameron Remembers Former Newcastle United Player Gary Speed as Genuinely One of the Most Popular Figures in Football

Article excerpt

NOBODY in football is universally popular.

Even the nicest bloke, the best team-mate in the world, will have rubbed someone up the wrong way.

That's to be expected. You cannot please everyone. Someone, somewhere is not going to like even you, yes you, the nice person who never says a bad word about anyone.

And then there was Gary Speed. Everyone liked him and I do mean everyone. Many loved the guy.

When anyone famous dies, particularly in the tragic manner the former Newcastle United player passed away three years ago, not a single person is going to come out in public and say what an awful bloke they were.

They may think that. They may even say it in private. However, such thoughts are left unsaid.

I have never heard anyone say a bad word about Speed, apart from one former player who knew him well who once told me: "He could be a bit too nice."

Too nice. Football could do with a few more like that.

Speed's father, Roger, admitted this week that the three years have flown past, but he takes comfort from the kind words when strangers talk to him about his son.

"Everywhere you go, everybody has only good things to say about Gary. Everybody loved him. It does give you a lift."

Speed had a great career. He won the league with Leeds United, played for Everton, the team he supported, and enjoyed what he said were his best days at Newcastle United.

He wasn't world-class and would never have claimed to be. However, as a human being he was out of this world.

His former manager Joe Royle once said: "Gary was a modern-day Corinthian who played the game in the right way. …

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