I will preface this by saying that of course Chris Coleman must take a lot of the credit for this huge achievement for Wales. But he has of course built on the foundations established by the late great Gary Speed.
So many in Welsh football credit Speed with introducing a mentality of wanting to win. Before Speed it is said that Wales lacked that drive to succeed on the international stage. He got a squad which contained players with great quality and potential performing well. He made people sit up and take notice.
Speeds input began a journey up the world rankings which culminated with them securing qualification for Euro 2016. This journey from the wastelands of international football to the top ten, and I believe a record ranking, would not have been possible without what Gary Speed did. And it is at this point that his legacy as Wales’ manager is well and truly fulfilled, and when everyone in football can look back at what a great man set in motion for Welsh football.
This is the first time in 57 years, a spell starching back to 1958, that Wales have achieved such a feat. Back then the price of bread was 2p and I was trying to work out how much a cheeky pint would set you back but I did not understand the money… This was also of course the year that Bolton last won the FA cup so was clearly a great year!
It will apparently be four years next month since Speed died at the age of 42 devastating football fans not only in Wales but throughout the country.
This achievement for Welsh football makes it the perfect occasion to remember Gary Speed once again for all his achievements in football including his years of service for Bolton Wanderers and the success he helped to bring to this club. A legend of the game, whose impact on Welsh football and the English Premier League will likely never be forgotten.
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