Gary Andrew Speed was born 8th September 1969 in Wales. Speed began his career with Leeds United as a trainee when he left school in June 1988, and was Peter Swan's boot boy, before he signed a professional contract on 13th June 1988. Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson first noticed Speed in a youth team game while the player was playing in a left back position. Under Wilkinson, he made his first team debut aged 19 in a goalless draw against Oldham Athletic in the Football League Second Division. He would go on to play in nine out of the ten outfield positions, although he was predominantly a left-sided player.
He went on to play a key role, playing 41 of a possible 42 games and scoring seven goals, as Leeds won the Football League First Division championship title in 1992, as part of a midfield that also comprised Gordon Strachan, Gary McAllister and David Batty. Former Leeds manager Eddie Gray considered it to be one of the greatest midfield line-ups in the modern era.
Speed would stay at Leeds until 1996, when he transferred to boyhood team Everton for a fee of £3.5 million. In total for Leeds United, Gary Speed scored 57 goals in 312 games.
In his first season with the Toffees, Speed was Top Goalscorer with 11 goals, as well as being named Everton's Player of the Season. When Howard Kendall became Everton manager in 1997, Speed was made captain. However, by January 1998, Speed and Kendall's relationship had soured, and Speed was subsequently sold to Newcastle United for a fee of £5.5 million.
The class act he was, Speed stated after he left Everton: "You know why I'm leaving, but I can't explain myself publicly because it would damage the good name of Everton Football Club and I'm not prepared to do that."
Speed made his Newcastle debut in a 1-0 win over West Ham United January 1998, and went on to start in Newcastle's 1998 and 1999 FA Cup defeats. Newcastle lost both games 2-0, firstly to Arsenal and then to Manchester United.
Speed would also play Champions League football for Newcastle in the 2002/2003 season.
After the signing of Nicky Butt in 2004 and the fact that Speed was approaching the age of 35, Sam Allardyce managed to sign him for Bolton Wanderers for only £750,000, and what a bargain that was. In total for Newcastle, Speed played 285 games, scoring 40 goals.
Allardyce said of the transfer: ''Gartside didn't want to fork out for him because he thought he was too old, but this was a drop in the ocean and Speedo's stats were those of a 25 year old.''
Gary Speed was a revelation for Bolton. Playing every Premier League game in the 2004/2005 season, Speed was key to Bolton finishing in 6th, meaning European football for the first time in the club's history.
Speed also featured in five European games during the 2005/2006 season, as Bolton reached the last 32, before losing to Marseille 2-1.
After playing in Bolton's 4-0 win over West Ham United, Speed became the first player to play in 500 Premier League games. Speed had his best scoring record in the 2006/2007 season, scoring 8 league goals in 38 games.
At the age of 38, Speed played his last game for Bolton in a 4-1 win against Wigan Athletic in 2007, before moving to Sheffield United in January 2008 for £250,000. In total for Bolton, Speed played 139 games, scoring 14 goals. Despite playing for Bolton in the twilight of his career, Speed was brilliant, and is easily up there with the greatest of Bolton players.
Speed played 40 times for Sheffield United before retiring in 2009.
In 2010, after the sacking of Kevin Blackwell, Speed was announced as the manager of Sheffield United. Speed would only manage the Blades for 18 games, before becoming the manager of Wales, the nation he had represented 85 times and captained.
Speed managed 10 games for Wales, winning 5 and losing 5.
On 27th November 2011, the footballing world was shocked and saddened to hear that Gary Speed had taken his own life. Nearly five years on, Speed is remembered as one of the greatest players to grace the Premier League.