Football fans pay tribute to Speed
Published 03/12/2011 | 13:52
Gary Speed's widow and two sons have joined tens of thousands of fans to remember the late Wales manager at the ground where he made his name as a player.
There were emotional scenes inside and outside Leeds United's Elland Road stadium as the club he played for in more than 240 games beat Millwall 2-0.
Louise Speed watched from the stands with her two sons, Edward and Thomas.
Just before half-time, she came out of the ground with members of her family, but without the boys, to inspect the masses of tributes to her husband which have formed a shrine around the statue of Leeds legend Billy Bremner.
Mrs Speed and her relatives spent about 10 to 15 minutes looking at the thousands of scarves, shirts and photographs fans had left. They picked up many of the tributes to read the messages, sharing some of the written memories with each other.
Before the match, hundreds of Leeds fans crowded around the shrine, which has grown gradually in the six days since Speed, 42, was found hanging at his Cheshire home.
Many stepped forward to add fresh, personalised memorabilia to the mass of yellow, blue and white tributes. Some even took off the shirts they were wearing to place them on the floor. Others were in tears as they stood in a circle in silence looking at the messages.
Inside the packed stadium, the players stood for a minute's applause which was punctuated with more chants of Speed's name. His colleagues in the Leeds midfield of the early 1990s - Gordon Strachan, Gary McAllister and David Batty - stood in the middle of the pitch for the tribute.
Meanwhile, at St James's Park, in Newcastle, there were tears and rapturous applause to remember the player before kick-off. Newcastle United postponed part of their planned tribute to Speed after his wife said she wanted to be present.
Speed was a mainstay of the Leeds United championship winning team in 1992 and played for the club for eight years before becoming a Newcastle United favourite.