As Wales face their biggest ever football match, Gary Speed is in the forefront of many people’s thoughts.
It was Gary Speed who began the turnaround in the Welsh team’s fortunes and that has been spectacularly built on by Chris Coleman, who spoke passionately about both his team and Gary Speed, ahead of the meeting with Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.
Chris Coleman saying ‘I don’t need a game of football for me to remember Speeds. I think about him every day’, adding ‘I don’t need Wales football to remind me of my friend’.
The Wales Captain Ashley Williams has also spoken really well about Gary Speed and says ‘I hope he’d be proud of us’, whilst of course nobody will be prouder tonight than Gary Speed’s father…
“I’m very very proud, I know all the lads and they think about him all the time – let’s do it for Speedo!
“It’s a very emotional day. He’s done a great job, Chris Coleman, I wished him all the best – he’s done a great job to get them where they are.
“He (Gary Speed) would be as proud as we are.”
“I was thinking about him on the plane coming over.
“I hope he’d be proud of us. He saw us grow up and you see what we’ve achieved today.
“He’s always in the back of our minds. When we achieve something, we think about him.”
“People talk about his legacy as a manager, but it’s hard to have a legacy in 10 games. Speedo’s legacy is 85 caps for Wales, and maybe over 50 as a captain, plus his 10 or 11 games as a manager, in which he showed great promise as a young manager.
“And then what happened, happened, unfortunately. He’s not just a Welsh but a sporting icon. But I don’t need a game of football for me to remember Speeds.
“I think about him every day, not just because I’m at a tournament. I don’t need Wales football to remind me of my friend. He could be sitting here where I am, enjoying what we’re enjoying. Unfortunately that was taken away.”