Gary Speed's death is as stunning as it is incomprehensible, now is the time to honour a great man

I remember one night, in Cardiff after a Wales Player of the Year dinner, talking to him about his interest in writing and how he was considering, one day, moving into the world of sports journalism.

It was only an idea, but he did seem keen and, I am sure, had he decided to go down that route he would have made a success of it.

There were desperate times as Wales lunged from one defeat to another in the later years.

There were also fun times, like a night in the British Ambassadors home in Doha when Wales played Qatar and we all were invited to join a soire.

He was happy, enjoying his job but also enjoying the fringe benefits of being an international player. He also beat me at pool later that night ...

As a player, he was solid and though he had his critics when he moved into management, he was just beginning to make his mark with three straight victories following an impressive performance at Wembley where he saw Wales narrowly lose to England.

Raymond Verheijen, who Speed brought in to assist him, has experience all over the world but was persuaded to join Wales because, as he told me in Dublin back in February, I see something special in Gary. He can be a great success."

The last time I saw Speed was as at a press conference to announce that Aaron Ramsey was Wales new captain.



Afterwards I told him I thought it was a brave move, a good step and that Arsne Wenger would be pleased.

Are you sure? he said. Well see.

As it was Wenger wasnt happy, but Ramsey has gone on to prosper for club and country.

My last conversation with Speed was about the fact that after 20 years I was no longer to be covering Wales due to a job change.

He was visibly surprised, wished me all the best for the future and with the words If theres anything I can do for you, dont hesitate to get in touch.

If only I could do something for Gary Speed...

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