Gary Speed

Record breaking Welsh wonder

Player Biography
Full name: Gary Andrew Speed
Date of birth: September 8, 1969
Date of death: November 27, 2011
Clubs played for: Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton, Sheffield United
Gary-Speed-Bobby-Robson cropped
Pause Play
Gary-Speed-Bobby-Robson cropped Gary-Speed-Leeds cropped Gary-Speed-Leeds-cropped Gary-Speed-Everton cropped Gary-Speed-Everton cropped Gary-Speed-Newcastle cropped Gary-Speed-Newcastle cropped Newcastle-Gary-Speed cropped Wales-Gary-Speed-cropped Gary-Speed-Newcastle cropped Gary-Speed-Alan-Shearer cropped Gary-Speed-Bobby-Robson cropped Gary-Speed-Wales Gary-Speed-Bolton-Wanderers Gary-Speed-Bolton cropped Gary-Speed-Bolton Gary-Speed-Bolton cropped Gary-Speed-Bolton Gary Speed-Sheffield United-cropped Gary-Speed-Wales cropped Soccer - npower Championship - Sheffield United Press Conference - Bramall Lane Gary-Speed-Sheffield-United cropped Gary-Speed-Wales Gary-Speed-Wales cropped Wales-Gary-Speed cropped
View thumbnails View full screen Turn captions on/off

Club Career

Gary Speed came through the youth ranks at Leeds, making his first team debut in May 1989 as a 19-year-old. He quickly established himself, first on the left wing and eventually as a combative midfielder, thanks to his good touch and excellent game awareness. Speed’s qualities helped Leeds to climb out of the old Second Division as Champions in 1990 and he then made 41 appearances in manager Howard Wilkinson’s side that won the First Division title in 1992.

Speed moved from Leeds to the club he supported as a boy, Everton, at the end of the 1995-96 season and was even made club captain, but he was on the move again in 1998, this time to Newcastle. After a spell at Bolton he joined Sheffield United in 2008, first as a player, then coach before taking over as manager in late 2010.

After just two months in the job at Bramall Lane he took over from John Toshack as Wales boss.

Club Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1988-96 Leeds 248 39
1996-98 Everton 58 15
1998-2004 Newcastle 213 29
2004-08 Bolton 121 14
2008-2010 Sheffield United 37 6

International Career

Speed lies second behind goalkeeper Neville Southall as the player with the most Welsh international appearances to his name, which is an even more incredible achievement given that he retired from the international game back in 2004.

He made his debut in 1990 as a substitute against Costa Rica and won his final cap 14 years later against Poland. Unfortunately he was one of a generation of Welsh players, including the likes of Mark Hughes and Ryan Giggs, who never played in a major finals tournament.

International Career Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1990-2004 Wales 85 7

Key Games

Leeds 4-0 Sheffield United (Second Division, April 16, 1990

Leeds looked every inch the favourites for the Second Division title after crushing Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United 4-0 at Elland Road. Speed scored the last goal of the afternoon after picking up a through ball from Chris Kamara and sprinting half the length of the pitch before coolly slotting home.

Leeds 4-1 VFB Stuttgart (European Cup 1st round 2nd leg, September 30, 1992)

Leeds met VFB Stuttgart in the first round of the European Cup and were on the end of a 3-0 hammering in the first leg in Germany. It looked like all hope was lost, but after 20 minutes in the second leg at Elland Road Eric Cantona headed a cross down and Speed slammed the ball home with a superb left foot volley. He later described it as his best ever goal. Leeds won the tie 4-1 and went out on the away goals rule, until it was discovered that Stuttgart had fielded an ineligible player. A play-off game was organised, which Leeds won and so they went through to the next round in the most unlikely fashion.

Liverpool 1-1 Everton (Premier League, November 20, 1996)

Everton fan Speed’s first Merseyside derby saw the Toffees trailing to a first half Robbie Fowler goal. But with just eight minutes left to play, Andy Hinchcliffe swung in a free-kick and Speed rose majestically to power a header home at the far post and earn Everton a draw.


Club Competition Year
Leeds League Championship 1991-92
Second Division Championship 1989-90

Did You Know...?

Speed has the dubious distinction of having lost in three major cup finals. He was a member of the Leeds team that lost the 1996 League Cup final to Aston Villa and then played for Newcastle in FA Cup final defeats against Arsenal in 1998 and Manchester United in 1999.

He became the first player to make 500 Premiership appearances when he played in Bolton's 4-0 victory over West Ham United in December 2006.

Speed was a huge fan of quizzes, but he was far better on the subjects of geography and history than he is football.

We want your help to grow the archive! Leave your comments about this piece of football history by clicking on the 'Your Memories' tab above. Tell us who or what you'd like to see covered in the archive by emailing

Your comments

  • Don Revie

    The Don of Elland Road

  • The Gary Lineker collection

    No slouch before moving to TV couch

  • Dean Windass

    Prodigal son who took Tigers to the Prem

  • Howard Kendall

    One third of the Holy Trinity

  • Dixie Dean

    Footballer, Gentleman, Evertonian

  • Leighton James

    A better Lollipop man than Ronaldo

  • Jimmy Armfield CBE

    More popular than the Blackpool Tower

  • Dennis Mortimer

    Another Scouser who's lifted the European Cup...

  • Vinnie Jones

    He's been emotional... and attritional

  • Bob Stokoe

    That hat! That coat! That dance!

  • Herbert Chapman

    The Arsene Wenger of his day      

  • Don Revie

    The Don of Elland Road

  • Billy Bremner

    Revie's red-haired enforcer

  • Nigel Martyn

    The Cornishman who kept goal for England

  • Jackie Milburn

    Simply, Wor Jackie