Gary Speed
Gary Speed
Personal information
Date of Birth 8 September 1969
Place of Birth Wales
Date of Death 27 November 2011 (aged 42)
Place of Death England
Leeds career
Playing position Midfielder
Number 11
Senior 6/1988 - 7/1996

Gary Andrew Speed, MBE (8 September 1969 – 27 November 2011) is known for his spell between 1988 and 1996 at Leeds United where he won the English Football League First Division Championship in 1992. At the time of his death, only David James and Ryan Giggs had played in more Premier League matches than Speed. Including his appearances in The Football League and cup competitions, Gary made 840 domestic appearances.

Speed began his career with Leeds United as a trainee when he left school in 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. Wilkinson named Speed as the club's player for the 1991-92 season.

In September 1992, Speed was pivotal in Leeds' European Cup first-round tie against VfB Stuttgart. Stuttgart had won 3–0 at home and looked to be going through already. Speed helped Leeds to a 4–1 victory at Elland Road, scoring one of them with a "superb left-foot volley" which he later described as his best ever goal. Speed was selected in the PFA Team of the Year for the 1992–93 season.

On 4 October 1995, Speed scored the winning goal as Leeds beat second division side Notts County in the second round of the League Cup. The match had seemed to be going to extra-time but Speed's 90th-minute winning goal had stopped Leeds needing a replay to overcome their lower league opponents.

Speed featured in the 1996 Football League Cup Final defeat by Aston Villa. He played in 312 games for Leeds United, scoring 57 goals.

Gary Speed is number 23 in Leeds United's 100 greatest players.