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All over the world, football fans are preparing themselves for the season’s drama with fevered anticipation. For those of us who don’t follow the beautiful game, however, it can be a gruelling chore especially if we have spouses, kids and friends for whom it’s absolutely everything. For men and women all over the planet who’d rather watch paint dry than invest ninety minutes (let alone a season’s viewing) in watching sports then it can create friction and even full blown arguments with football obsessed family members. Thus, we’ve created a guide to familial bliss throughout the football season that will prevent any of your family members from having to be shown the red card.

Image by Flickr

Build personal investment

Most people love football because they’ve built a tribalistic connection to their favourite team. Sure, as they get older they may develop a technical appreciation for the skill, technical proficiency and strategy of the game but it all boils down to a primal “us vs them” mentality. This psychology is often forged at an early age and it can be virtually impossible to develop that kind of investment as an adult. Football likely has psychological associations with family, togetherness and a shared experience much like a pop concert or a live theatrical performance. While you may not be able to recreate this kind of investment for yourself there may be some ways to create investment. Place a bet at the start of the season to give yourself a vested interest (just be sure to bet responsibly). Even picking a team arbitrarily because you like the sound of their name or the colour of their kit can be a fun entry point.

Make football time YOU time

Many men and women take their football seriously as watching it allows them an opportunity to leave their troubles behind for an hour and a half and invest their attention completely in the game. So, why not afford yourself the same opportunity? Take some time to visit a friend, read a book, watch a film or play video games. Whichever way you prefer to unwind, you’ll feel much better when the match is over..

Create a trade off

For many of our partners, and especially children, it’s not enough to enjoy the football, they want to feel that we’re enjoying it too. Even if watching the game is boring or tortuous for you, then grin and bear it under the proviso that tomorrow the family can spend the same amount of time doing an activity of your choosing, whatever that may be.

And if you can’t beat them, join them

Most football fans are not made in front of the TV, they’re made in the stands. Even if you’re not a football fan, there’s a certain atmosphere around live football that should really be experienced by everyone, even those with no personal investment in the sport. Football fans are very often misrepresented as being aggressive, rude and violent. However the vast majority are friendly, approachable and passionate, creating a welcoming atmosphere that you may just appreciate.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has refused to stand for the national anthem in protest at what he sees as racial injustice.

He remained seated as the anthem was played.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Colin Kaepernick explained.

Some fans booed Colin Kaepernick when he took to the field.

The San Francisco 49ers players said they supported Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest, which took place as the team hosted the Green Bay Packers in a pre-season game on August 26.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

“We recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem,” the 49ers said.

An NFL spokesman said players were “encouraged but not required” to stand during the anthem.

Colin Kaepernick has been outspoken on social media about race relations and a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.

He told NFL Media: “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.

“There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

The NFL player appeared to be referring to police use of deadly force which sparked the Black Lives Matter protests.

In 2013, Colin Kaepernick led his team to the NFL’s title game, the Super Bowl, but has since lost his starting place.

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Dutch soccer legend Johan Cruyff has died of cancer at the age of 68.

Johan Cruyff, who made his name as a forward with Ajax and Barcelona, was European soccer player of the year three times.

The soccer icon won three consecutive European Cups with Ajax from 1971, coached Barcelona to their first European Cup triumph in 1992 and helped the Dutch reach the 1974 World Cup final, where they were beaten 2-1 by West Germany.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

The Dutch Football Association said: “Words can hardly be found for this huge loss.”

It added: “The greatest Dutch footballer of all time and one of the world’s best ever. Our condolences go to his wife, family, friends and the entire football world at home and abroad. We wish everyone a lot of strength in this difficult time.”

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Sepp Blatter has revealed he had a “gentleman’s agreement” with Michel Platini over the 2 million euro payment he made to the UEFA president in 2011.

The 79-year-old FIFA president faces a criminal investigation over the payment, made nine years after Michel Platini, 60, carried out consultation work for the Swiss.

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini deny any wrongdoing.

“It was a contract I had with Michel Platini, a gentleman’s agreement that was followed through on,” Sepp Blatter told Swiss broadcaster RROTV.

Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has imposed a 90-day suspension on Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini while corruption claims concerning the payment are investigated.Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter FIFA corruption scandal

Former France international captain and coach Michel Platini says the money was an unpaid additional salary due from the time he served as Sepp Blatter’s advisor between 1998 and 2002.

Following a UEFA meeting on October 15, the Football Association (FA) suspended its support for Michel Platini’s bid to become FIFA president “until the legal process has been concluded and the position is clear”.

UEFA issued a statement saying Micehl Platini should be given the opportunity “to clear his name” and urged the FIFA ethics committee to conclude its investigation by mid-November.

The FIFA presidential election is scheduled to take place on February 26, 2016.

Meanwhile, FIFA says it will investigate “very serious allegations” that a 6.7 million euro payment was made to it by Germany’s 2006 World Cup organizing committee.

The bid, led by former World Cup-winning captain and coach Franz Beckenbauer, edged out favorites South Africa in the July 2000 vote to win the hosting rights for the 2006 tournament.

FIFA said the allegations would be reviewed “as part of the independent internal investigation currently being conducted by FIFA under the direction of its legal director with the assistance of outside counsel”.

Germany’s Football Association is also investigating the payment, saying it had found no indication of wrongdoing in the overall bid process but that the payment “may potentially not have been used for the intended purpose”.

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Albania national soccer team qualified for a major tournament for the first time in their history after beating Armenia with 0-3 and securing their place at UEFA’s Euro 2016.

The win means Albania leapfrog Denmark into second place in Group I.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Portugal – who had already qualified as group winners – won 2-1 against Serbia, who had two men sent off.

Albania’s win means Denmark finish third in the group, and will face a play-off to qualify for France next summer.

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Soccer’s governing body chief Sepp Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini are facing an investigation by FIFA’s ethics committee.

The move comes after the Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against 79-yar-old Sepp Blatter.

Sepp Blatter is accused of signing a contract “unfavorable” to FIFA and making a “disloyal payment” to UEFA President Michel Platini, 60.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

The FIFA president denies wrongdoing and his lawyer says he is co-operating fully.

The ethics committee is looking into the circumstances of a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.2 million) that Michel Platini received in 2011 for work said to have been carried out more than nine years previously, reported the Press Association.

Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings against Sepp Blatter on September 25.

Michel Platini – who worked as Sepp Blatter’s technical advisor between 1999 and 2002 – was interviewed as a witness by officers from the attorney general’s office.

Michel Platini is yet to explain the nine-year delay in payment but he too denies any wrongdoing.

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Soccer legend Pele has been taken to hospital two months after having prostate surgery.

Pele, 74, was suffering from a trapped nerve and has had back surgery at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazilian media reports.

The Brazilian, a three-time World Cup winner, was treated for a urinary infection eight months ago after having kidney stones removed.Pele hospitalized again

He should be released in the coming days, according to reports.

Mirtes Bogea, a press officer for the Albert Einstein hospital, said she was not allowed to say when Pele was re-admitted or why.

Pele, who was named FIFA’s Player of the Century, scored a world record total of 1,281 goals in 1,363 games during his 21-year career, including 77 in 91 appearances for Brazil.

He has only one kidney, having had one removed towards the end of his playing career.

Pele played in 14 games at World Cup finals, scoring 12 goals, and was awarded the FIFA Golden Ball as the best player at the 1970 tournament.

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Swiss banks have reported suspicions of money laundering by soccer’s governing body FIFA.

Local prosecutors are investigating 53 cases of possible money laundering in their inquiry into bidding for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.

Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber said the incidents had been reported by Swiss banks.

He said his office was analyzing a “huge amount” of seized FIFA data in its inquiry.

The Swiss investigation is running in parallel to one being carried out by the US.

The 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively. But leading FIFA official Domenico Scala has said the awards could be cancelled if evidence emerges of bribery.

Russia and Qatar deny any wrongdoing.

FIFA is facing claims of widespread corruption after Swiss police raided a hotel in Zurich – where the soccer’s governing body is based – and arrested seven of its top executives last month.Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber FIFA probe news conference

The seven were held at the request of the US DoJ which has charged 14 current and former FIFA officials and associates on charges of “rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted” corruption.

The charges follow a three-year inquiry by the FBI.

Also in May, Swiss prosecutors opened separate criminal proceedings “against persons unknown on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering” in connection with the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

However, until now, much less has been revealed about the Swiss investigation than the inquiry being led by the FBI.

Michael Lauber told a news conference that the investigation was “huge and complex on many levels” and would take a long time.

“We note positively that banks in Switzerland did fulfill their duties to file suspicious activity reports. Partly in addition to 104 banking relations already known to the authorities, banks announced 53 suspicious banking relations via the anti-money-laundering framework of Switzerland,” he said.

Michael Lauber said he did not rule out interviews with FIFA president Sepp Blatter as part of his investigation.

Sepp Blatter has denied any wrongdoing and announced earlier this month that he will resign.

The attorney said his investigation was separate from that being carried out by the FBI and that documents and data would not be shared automatically with the US.

Michael Lauber added: “The world of football needs to be patient. By its nature, this investigation will take more than the legendary 90 minutes.”

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Chuck Blazer, the most senior American official at FIFA, has admitted that he and others on the executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the choice of South Africa as 2010 World Cup host.

Chuck Blazer said he also helped to arrange bribes over the 1998 event.

The admissions come in a newly released transcript from a 2013 US hearing in which he pleads guilty to 10 charges.

The US has launched a wide-ranging criminal case that engulfed FIFA and led President Sepp Blatter to resign.

The US prosecutors last week indicted 14 people on charges of bribery, racketeering and money laundering. Four others had already been charged, including Chuck Blazer.

The DoJ alleges they accepted bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than $150 million over a 24-year period.Chuck Blazer FIFA bribes

Seven of the 14 were top FIFA officials who were arrested in Zurich, Switzerland, as they awaited the FIFA congress. Two were vice-presidents.

The details of Chuck Blazer’s guilty pleas came as prosecutors unsealed the transcript of the 2013 hearing in the Eastern New York District Court. The admissions are part of a sentencing deal with prosecutors.

Chuck Blazer, 70, was the second highest official in FIFA’s North and Central American and Caribbean region (CONCACAF) from 1990 to 2011 and also served on FIFA’s executive committee between 1997 and 2013.

In the transcript, prosecutors refer to FIFA “and its membership or constituent organization” as a RICO enterprise – a Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization.

Chuck Blazer says: “Beginning in or around 2004 and continuing through 2011, I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup.”

On June 3, South Africa denied paying a $10 million bribe to secure the hosting of the 2010 event.

Chuck Blazer also says: “I and others agreed to accept bribes and kickbacks in conjunction with the broadcast and other rights to the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003 Gold Cups (the regional championship for national teams).”

Other admissions among the 10 charges in the 40-page dossier include US tax evasion.

Federal agents investigating the tax evasion had detained Chuck Blazer and he agreed to co-operate in the US investigations.

He is said to have agreed to record his colleagues using a microphone hidden in a keychain.

Chuck Blazer is said to be seriously ill, suffering from colon cancer.

In addition to the US case, Swiss authorities have launched a criminal investigation into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were allocated.

Qatar has said there is no way it will be stripped of the right to host the 2022 World Cup despite the corruption probe.

Foreign minister Khaled al Attiyah dismissed what he called “a bashing campaign” as anti-Arab prejudice and said Qatar was confident it could prove there had been no wrongdoing in its selection.

In another development, former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner made a televised address in Trinidad on June 3 in which he said he could link FIFA officials to the 2010 election in Trinidad and Tobago.

Jack Warner has been indicted by the US with corruption, a charge he strongly denies.

On June 3, FIFA President Sepp Blatter was given a 10-minute standing ovation by some 400 staff as he returned to FIFA’s Zurich headquarters a day after announcing he was to step down.

Reportedly close to tears, Sepp Blatter urged his “fantastic team” to “stay strong”.

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Argentine soccer player Franco Nieto has died at the age of 33 after being struck in the head following a match on November 30.

Franco Nieto, the captain of regional club Tiro Federal, was attacked by hooligans after a match against rivals Chacarita Juniors in the town of Aimogasta, in north-west Argentina.

The match was stopped 15 minutes before full time after the referee sent off eight players for fighting.

This year, 15 people have died in football-related violence in Argentina.Franco Nieto dead

Franco Nieto’s cousin, Pablo Nieto, said three people surrounded the player as he was going to his car with his wife and one-month-old daughter.

They kicked and punched him before one of the attackers struck Franco Nieto in the head with a stone, leaving him unconscious.

Franco Nieto was operated on December 2 but died on December 3.

Local police chief Fabian Bordon told local media that three people had been detained in connection with the attack.

Football violence is a huge problem in Argentina.

According to the NGO Salvemos el Futbol (Let’s Save Football), deaths caused by football-related violence have tripled in 2014.

The main culprits are the so-called Barras Bravas, gangs of radical supporters who control the terraces and the streets around the stadiums.

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Miami has rejected David Beckham’s plan to build a soccer stadium on a city waterfront.

The city determined the proposed location next to a major basketball arena was “inappropriate”.

Former football player David Beckham has travelled to Miami frequently in recent months to launch a Major League Soccer (MLS) club.

David Beckham’s business group, Beckham Miami United, has said it will continue to pursue alternative locations.

Miami has rejected David Beckham's plan to build a soccer stadium on a city waterfront

Miami has rejected David Beckham’s plan to build a soccer stadium on a city waterfront

The group is required to finalize a stadium deal before it can win approval from MLS, the US professional soccer league, to open a club.

An earlier proposal for a waterfront stadium site also experienced local resistance from cruise lines.

Scrutiny of the deal rose sharply after the city provided $500 million in public funding to build a new stadium for the Miami Marlins baseball team.

Public anger over that deal is said to have contributed to a 2011 vote ousting the former Miami-Dade County mayor from office.

Beckham Miami United has agreed to finance a $250 million stadium – expected to seat an estimated 20,000 spectators – and pay rent on the publicly owned land.

David Beckham’s partners in the endeavor include British entrepreneur Simon Fuller and mobile phone services billionaire Marcelo Claure.

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A violent brawl that seriously injured three people broke out at the Brazilian football league season end on Sunday.

A match in southern Brazil was stopped by fan violence in the stands, police fired rubber bullets to contain the crowd and an injured man was airlifted by helicopter to a hospital.

A doctor said two other fans were hospitalized in serious condition and one was treated for a minor injury at the stadium in the southern city of Joinville.

TV images showed seemingly unconscious men being kicked in the head despite appeals from football players.

Brazil league soccer match in Joinville was stopped by fans violence

Brazil league soccer match in Joinville was stopped by fans violence

A helicopter landed on the pitch to transport an injured man to hospital.

The shockingly violent scenes, broadcast live to millions of homes on Sunday afternoon, are bound to raise questions about Brazil’s ability to keep fans safe during next year’s World Cup, correspondents say.

The brawl in the Arena Joinville, in the southern state of Santa Catarina, started during the first half of the match.

One of Atletico Paranaense’s players was filmed crying after witnessing fans being viciously beaten.

“I’ve been playing for 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this in person. We will have a World Cup in our country and we know these images will be shown everywhere,” defender Luiz Alberto told reporters.

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Bryce Brites became world’s youngest professional football player at only 20 months.

Bryce Brites signed this week with Belgian club FC Racing Boxberg, based near his home city of Genk, after impressing coaches with his “highly unusual” talent and “incredible” ball control. The precocious toddler was invited to train with the club’s Under-5 team and was signed and issued his very own Belgian FA membership card the very same day.

Bryce Brites became world’s youngest professional football player at only 20 months

Bryce Brites became world’s youngest professional football player at only 20 months

The toddler misses out on the all-time record for youngest-ever professional by two months. That record apparently belongs to Dutch footballer Baerke van der Meij, who signed a 10-year deal with VVV-Venlo when he was 18 months old.

Racing Boxberg club secretary Dany Vodnik raved about the young prodigy, who is still in diapers, to Dutch newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws: “Bryce kicks a ball in a way you do not even see when playing drills with four or five-year-olds. His ball control is incredible for his age. The way he dribbles with the ball at his feet between the cones, he can give a pass to the left or right.

“You ask him to kick a ball three or five meters and he does so, but he may not play with the five and six-year-old boys yet. We must remain cautious.“

Bryce Brites might just live up to the hype in about 15 years or so. But for the meantime, the toddler will likely enjoy instant celebrity status on his neighborhood playgrounds.

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Women’s football is the first event of the Olympics and is to kick off later, two days before the official opening ceremony.

The Team GB women’s football side will get 18 days of sport under way at 16:00 BST against New Zealand at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

Designated Games Lanes, covering about 30 miles of roads and off limits to the public, have begun operating in London.

And government lawyers will go to court to try to stop a public sector workers’ strike on the eve of the Games.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt will join Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan in Cardiff for the first event of the 2012 Games.

Women’s football is the first event of the Olympics and is to kick off later, two days before the official opening ceremony

Women’s football is the first event of the Olympics and is to kick off later, two days before the official opening ceremony

Team GB coach Hope Powell said opening the Games was a “great honour” and would hopefully give people “a greater appreciation of how good women’s football actually is”.

And captain Casey Stoney said she hoped the fixture could “raise the profile of women’s football”.

“It’s a global thing, not just for our nation, and hopefully we can put on a good show – but we are just focused on getting the job done.”

Team GB drew 0-0 against Sweden in their final warm-up fixture at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium last Friday.

Relative unknowns Cameroon and heavily fancied Brazil will take each other on at the stadium after the GB game, and four other matches in the same competition are also taking place later in the day at Hampden Park in Glasgow and the City of Coventry Stadium.

The Olympic Route Network (ORN), made up of 175 miles of roads connecting up the main Olympic venues across the country, comes into force on Wednesday.

It is designed to make it easier for athletes and officials to get around the Games and has seen junctions blocked off, bus stops moved and parking bays suspended.

As part of the ORN, the designated Games Lanes in London will be in operation between 06:00 BST and midnight and only open to VIPs, athletes and accredited media.

Ordinary motorists going into the lanes face fines of £130 ($205).

Mark Evers, Transport for London’s (TfL) director of Games transport, said commuters must leave more time for their journeys.

“The worst case scenario for us is that people try to chance it and, those first few days of the Games, that they try to do what they ordinarily do – and I can guarantee all people that travel around London, those first few days of the Games are going to be really busy,” Mark Evers said.

“It’s vitally important that they come up with a plan that takes into account the busy parts of the network.”

TfL commissioner Peter Hendy said the early signs were positive: “We’ve seen a marked reduction in road traffic in the last 10 days, which is along the lines of what we asked Londoners and people who work in London to do.”

In the High Court, the government is to argue for an injunction to prevent public sector workers, including immigration and passport workers at Heathrow and other airports, taking strike action on Thursday.

Thousands of spectators are expected to arrive at Heathrow Airport on that day.

The Home Office says it believes there was a “procedural error” in the ballot of members of the Public and Commercial Services union.

But the PCS said it was “confident” the strike was legal and would happen.

The government insists contingency plans are in place in the event of industrial action.

 

The death of Welsh national manager Gary Speed left the football world baffled and devastated yesterday.

Gary Speed, 42, was found hanged by his wife, according to the Times, just after 7:00 a.m. GMT in the garage of their $2.3 million mansion. They have together two teenage sons.

Just few hours earlier, Gary Speed had appeared happy and optimistic on BBC1’s Football Focus programme.

The Welsh manager talked enthusiastically about his team’s improving fortunes and his hopes for success in World Cup qualifying matches next year.

Presenter Dan Walker, who spent four hours on and off camera with Gary Speed, said: “He was as bubbly as I’ve known him. He was talking about his kids, how they were really coming on, and talking about playing golf next week.

“Even small things like how he’d just got into Twitter. It’s awful to think someone who was so gifted and so well liked with the rest of his life to look forward to have been cruelly removed. He was in such a good mood about the show and said he’d love to come back before Christmas.”

Gary Speed, 42, was found hanged by his wife, Louise, 40, just after 7.00 a.m. GMT in the garage of their $2.3 million mansion

Gary Speed, 42, was found hanged by his wife, Louise, 40, just after 7.00 a.m. GMT in the garage of their $2.3 million mansion

The suspected suicideof Gary Speed at the family home in Huntington, on the outskirts of Chester, was reported to police just after 7:00 a.m. Police said there were “no suspicious circumstances”.

Officers were waiting last night to interview Gary Speed’s widow, Louise, 40, who was a constant figure of support throughout his career.

A friend described Gary Speed as a “completely devoted dad” to sons Ed, 14, and Tommy, 13. Both are promising sportsmen. Ed is a footballer and Tommy a keen boxer.

Robbie Savage, who played alongside Gary Speed for Wales, said his former teammate had been ribbing him on Saturday about his appearance on Strictly Come Dancing.

“I just can’t believe it,” said Robbie Savage.

“He was my mate and he’s gone. I’ve got very close to Gary in the last few years – the guy is a trooper, he’s left two gorgeous kids behind and a beautiful wife. He had everything.

“I spoke to him yesterday and we were laughing and joking – he was saying make sure you don’t get a (mark of) two off Craig (Revel Horwood, the Strictly judge) tonight. That’s what Gary’s like – he always thinks about other people.

“As my captain when I was a young boy in the squad, he’d come to me and I could go to him with my problems.”

Gary Speed’s former Newcastle United teammate Shay Given, who attended a charity fundraising fashion event with him in May, was seen in floods of tears on television as a minute’s silence was held at Swansea City’s match against Given’s team Aston Villa.

Thousands of fans sang Welsh hymns and joined in the chant “there’s only one Gary Speed”.

At Anfield, Liverpool’s Welsh star Craig Bellamy asked not to play against Manchester City after hearing the news.

Gary Speed, who was awarded an MBE in the 2010 Birthday Honours, retired from playing only last year after winning 85 caps for his country.

He represented Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton Wanderers during his long career.

Both Gary Speed’s parents were from Chester but he was born in the Welsh border town of Mancot and was always proud to represent his country. His father Roger played football for Wrexham before returning to his trade as a joiner.

Gary Speed made his league debut for Leeds United in May 1989 and was a member of the team which went on to win the league title in 1992.

Despite having limited experience as a manager, Gary Speed’s impact on the Welsh national team had been dramatic.

He had a keen interest in sports psychology and after taking over from John Toshack a year ago was able to get the best out of young players such as Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey and Tottenham’s Gareth Bale.

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