What a terrible waste. Gary Speed was a very decent player, a very decent bloke by all accounts and, based on recent Wales performances, a more than very decent manager; but at aged 42 he has thrown away his life and left a wife and two young children in mourning. What ever lies behind this, his decision to take his own life was a wasteful, foolish and a sadly selfish act from a man respected for the help and support he has given to others. God knows what his family are going through at the moment and they should be our first concern as we ponder why Gary, why?
It certainly could have nothing to do with football because Speed was surfing the crest of a wave inside the game. If depression was to blame - as some are already suggesting - then those who chuck around comments about mental health issues - and there have been a few on here today - might like to stop and think. We have accepted that using terms related to physical and mental disability as insults are unacceptable, but some idiots still seem to think it is fair game to use mental illness itself as a stock insult. Maybe if they didn't, those who genuinely suffer might feel more comfortable about seeking help.
Congratulations are due to Kenny Dalglish for his statement and for making the decision to rest Bellamy. Shankly shamefully claimed that football was more important than life and death; but Dalglish has righted that wrong today by saying that grieving is "more important than any football match". Spot on.
Congratulations too to the fans at the Swansea v Villa and Liverpool v Man City games. Stupid rivalries were put aside and the applause in both stadia was very touching.
Life goes on, but sadly not for Gary Speed. His pain is over but that pain has been passed to a wife, loving parents and two young children - as well as to current and former players up and down the land who seem to have genuinely loved the guy. Given's tears and the inability of Hartson to broadcast for Radio 5 Live say it all.
Football is in a state of shock and perhaps we should all take stock. It seems such a wonderful life but the pressures are acute and players and managers are people, with human emotions, and can be hurt like everybody else. Those hunting down Kean at Blackburn and Bruce at Sunderland might like to reflect. Of course we feel passionate about the game and the club we love but sometimes we cross the line in an unacceptable way and sometimes a terrible price is paid, a price far worse than relegation.