I remember seeing Gary Speed playing at the end of his career for Bolton Wanderers against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. I think Spurs won 4-1 but for Bolton's consolation goal, Gary Speed put away a penalty for the Greater Manchester team. When he went up to take the penalty, I think probably everybody in the stadium knew that there was only one way it would end up: the ball nestling in the back of net.
I think I also saw Speed score a great header for Everton against Spurs, which helped the Liverpool-based team stay up in the Premier League that year. Teddy Sheringham was leading the attack that day and I don't think Spurs was trying too hard. My memory often plays tricks and if he did not score, Speed played well. Another memory was how welcoming the Everton fans were to a Spurs family in a cafe before the match.
For me visiting Goodison was like going to a Catholic shrine, very emotional, and the same applies to Anfield when I saw Liverpool FC eke out a 0-0 draw against the Spanish club Deportivo de la Coruna (sorry I am not going to bother with the tilde on the n). Listening to the fans
sing "You will never walk alone" was amazing. And perhaps more amazing was that Liverpool won the European Champions League that year.
Speed was such an amazing professional and this showed by him being successful at a range of clubs. He was also doing well at Wales manager. I had never heard before the story that he became the unofficial chauffeur of former Newcastle United manager Sir Bobby Robson, so as to learn from the master's knee. Newcastle is one of my favourite clubs since I have got
Geordie relations (I am probably half Geordie by genes if that is possible).
"ETERNAL REST GRANT UNTO HIM O LORD AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON HIM. MAY HE REST IN PEACE."