TWO OF GARY Speed’s former clubs have today confirmed their arrangements for this weekend’s football fixtures.
The Premier League yesterday announced that every game will be prefaced by a minute’s applause for the player, who was found dead on Sunday morning.
An inquest heard yesterday that the Wales manager was found hanged by his wife.
Today, Newcastle United – with whom Speed played for six seasons – have said they will produce a special match programme with a picture of Speed on the cover.
Prior to kick-off at St James’ Park, a singer will lead the 52,000-strong crowd in a rendition of the famous Welsh hymn, Bread of Heaven.
A club statement added: “Whilst the hymn is sung, supporters in the East Stand will be asked to hold up black and white cards which will depict the number 11, the shirt number Gary wore whilst at United. All supporters will be provided with hymn sheets on their seats in order to join in the singing.
“Upon completion of the hymn, a minute’s applause will be observed in memory of Gary.”
Speed’s first professional club Leeds United will remember their former midfielder before Saturday’s early game against Milwall.
Travelling Leeds supporters last night paid a unique tribute to Speed during the 4-0 win over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground last night.
On Saturday, both teams will be wearing black arm bands with Leeds players and management wearing armbands embossed with “Speed 11″.
A minute’s applause will also be held ahead of the game after which respective managers Simon Grayson and Millwall manager Kenny Jackett will lay wreaths at both ends of the stadium.
A club statement continues:
“Prior to kick-off, a montage remembering Gary will be shown on the big screen, featuring some of his finest moments in a Leeds United shirt and showing some of the many tributes that have been paid since Sunday. Fans will again be paying tribute with a special banner in memory of Gary, with the words ‘Go on Gary Speed, get one yourself son’ with reference to the famous commentary that accompanied his goal against Sheffield United at Elland Road in April 1990.
“Fans are also encouraged to continue paying their respects at the Billy Bremner Statue where the floral and shirt tributes continue to grow. It is hoped that many of the shirts will be kept and displayed in the club museum in the future. All flags will continue to fly at half-mast.”
Welsh FA chief executive, Jonathan Ford, lays a wreath in memory of Speed before the Carling Cup quarter-final between Cardiff and Blackburn at the Cardiff City Stadium last night. (Pic: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images)
Later on Saturday, Wales will take on Australia on the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. The Welsh Rugby Union have confirmed this afternoon that there will be a minute’s silence before the game.
A WRU spokesman said: “Gary Speed was a talented sportsman, an excellent ambassador for soccer and a true gentleman.
“As Wales football manager he was achieving a level of success which was raising the Welsh international game to new levels. He represented values and a work ethic which had a resonance to the ambitions of everyone involved in rugby.
“We will all miss him and his memory will undoubtedly live on through his achievements. It is important for rugby to pay its respects to Gary Speed and the international on Saturday, which is the first for a Welsh team since his passing, is a fitting opportunity for that tribute to be paid.”