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Gary Speed: Leeds United mourning a legend UPDATED

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  • by Paul Robinson
 

THE Leeds United family will come together as one on Saturday to pay emotional tribute to Gary Speed.

A minute’s remembrance for the tragic United hero will be held before kick-off at the home game against Millwall, the club has confirmed.

Footage of Speed’s finest moments in the white of Leeds will also be played on Elland Road’s big screen.

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A special edition of United’s matchday programme is being produced, containing a host of fans’ memories of the title-winning midfielder.

And Leeds’s current team will show their appreciation for their illustrious predecessor by wearing black armbands for the fixture.

The side will also wear black armbands for this evening’s game at Nottingham Forest.

Fans attending tonight’s match are planning an 11-minute chant in honour of the man who filled the number 11 shirt for Leeds with distinction on so many occasions.

Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, has called for some form of permanent memorial to Speed.

Taylor said he had never known such an outpouring of grief among the soccer community as that sparked by the death of the Welshman.

He went on: “There will be an overwhelming sense that we want to do something together to show how loved and regarded he was in the football world.

“Everywhere he went he was surrounded by friends. There is a terrible sense of loss.”

Leeds City Council leader Coun Keith Wakefield said: “On behalf of the city of Leeds I would like to express my shock and extreme sadness at the death of Gary Speed.

“Gary was a hugely popular and respected figure in Leeds, both on a personal and professional level.

“He will forever be fondly remembered by everyone in the city and our thoughts at this very sad time are with his family and friends.”

Wales manager Speed was found hanged at his home in Cheshire on Sunday.

An inquest into the 42-year-old father-of-two’s death was due to open at Warrington Coroner’s Court today.

Speed began his career at Leeds, playing for the Whites between 1988 and 1996. He was a key figure in the United side that won the old First Division championship in 1992 and also had spells with Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United.

An online campaign has been launched urging supporters to fill Elland Road for Saturday’s game as a mark of respect.

Fans were yesterday continuing to lay flowers, shirts and scarves at the ground’s Billy Bremner statue.

A poignant message written on one shirt read ‘Go on Gary Speed, get one yourself son’ – a famous line of commentary that accompanied his goal at Elland Road against Sheffield United in Leeds’s 1989-90 promotion season.

The tributes even included a Manchester United shirt laid by a fan of Leeds’s arch-rivals from across the Pennines.

A book of condolence has been opened at the Football Association of Wales (FAW) headquarters in Cardiff. The FAW has also received messages of sympathy from soccer governing bodies Uefa and Fifa.

 

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