Gary Speed Tribute

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter

 

Newcastle United paid a fitting tribute to Gary Speed before Saturday's Premier League game against Swansea City.

The former Magpies midfielder, who made 285 appearances during a six-year spell on Tyneside, passed away in November aged 42.

The Club's original tributes were delayed at the Speed family's request, in order for them to be present, so with family and friends in attendance United celebrated the Welsh international's life prior to their fixture with the Swans.

Singer Gwyn Hughes Jones led the 51,000-plus crowd in a rendition of the famous Welsh hymn, Bread of Heaven, while supporters in the East Stand held up black and white cards to depict the number 11 - the shirt which Gary wore while at Newcastle.

A minute's applause was also observed, and supporters waved scarves and sung Speed's name during the 11th minute of the match.

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew said: "It was a chance for the Geordie folk to show their respect for Gary and their love for him, and they did that in a really magical way.

"It was hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck stuff there, and I am sure his family were very, very pleased and happy with that."

Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers echoed those sentiments.

"Newcastle, what they did for Gary Speed, today, I thought it was a wonderful touch by both sets of supporters and everyone there," he said.

"Roger (Speed, Gary's dad) and his family will never forget that. It was a lovely touch by Newcastle and congratulations to them."