Gary Speed’s father gives emotional response to fans and players
It was David Beckham who led the tributes to Gary Speed on Saturday night.
Wales qualifying for the Euros finals in France next summer, despite losing 2-0 away in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
It was Gary Speed who was credited with setting in motion the revival in the fortunes of Welsh football that has culminated in qualifying for France with one match still to go.
The former Newcastle midfielder took over the management of Wales in 2010 and in the year he was in charge, Wales moved further up the world rankings than any other country.
Beckham’s kind words were joined by many others when it came to including Gary Speed as playing a significant part in the revival of Welsh international football.
Now Roger Speed has spoken with pride and emotion after the successful qualification and said that he knows that his son will have ‘been watching from above and cheering the team on’.
“I’m absolutely delighted Wales have finally done it. And it gives me immense pride that Gary’s name has been mentioned, by the players and the fans, so often along the way in this qualifying campaign.
“I was down in Cardiff for the draw against Israel last month and I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like it. The fans started singing Gary’s favourite song ‘I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ and then chanted his name. It really got to me. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I was in tears.
“Watching this team has given me so much pleasure and Chris Coleman deserves a huge amount of credit for what he’s achieved. It was so difficult for him to follow Gary but he’s done a great job. The spirit in the side is something very special.
“I’m actually an Englishman, born in Chester. But Gary’s influence has certainly turned me into a Wales fan, I look out for their result before England’s these days. I’ve always got a daffodil inside my coat pocket. And there’s no doubt about it, I will be in France to support them next summer.
“Like a few of the players have already mentioned, qualification is a fitting tribute to what Gary put in place with this group of players.
“There’s no doubt he would be immensely proud of their success. I know he’s been watching from above and cheering the team on. I’d like to think he’s been an inspiration.”
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