BOLTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28: A supporter lays flowers amongst tributes to footballer and ex Bolton Wanderers player Gary Speed outside the Reebok Stadium the home ground of Bolton Wanderers FC on November 28, 2011 in Bolton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
We had plans to start this as a regular post match feature, where we compile quotes from various Wanderers about the match. However, in light of the tragic Gary Speed news, it only seems right to dedicate this post to him.
Finding words is difficult right now. A man who not only had so much of an impact on the world of football, but also on me in my budding days of football fandom, is suddenly and inexplicably gone. My first matches at the Reebok featured Speedo and I vividly remember singing 'There's only 1 Gary Speed'. But Gary Speed was more than a footballer, and this is evidenced by the many tributes from people around him that focus not on his footballing achievements, which were many, but on what an amazing man he was. And so, since I can't find the words, I leave you with those from the people who knew him. Rest in peace, Gary Speed.
Sam Ricketts, Bolton and Wales Defender
"It has come as a huge shock. It's a sad time for football and, most importantly, for his family.He was a great guy who was hugely respected for what he did as a player. Things have been moving forward for the Welsh national team recently and that was mainly down to him because he had come into the role and implemented his own ideas.Even though I have been injured, he has always kept me involved. He had phoned me several times to find out how I'm progressing and invited me down to matches to keep in contact with the squad. The fact he was such a nice guy makes it harder to accept the news. It's very tragic."
Kevin Davies, ex-teammate
"It's very much a shock and I'm finding it hard to come to terms with it all. I had Ivan Campo and Stelios ring me earlier today - they were upset and wanted to offer their condolences to Gary's family. It's like a bad dream. I was a roommate with Gary when he was at the club. He is a legend in football and what he achieved with Bolton was fantastic. He was very good in the dressing room and he got along with everyone. He was the ultimate professional, a born winner who always gave his all. While he was with Bolton he started taking his coaching badges and being the type of person he was, we knew that he would succeed in that part of the game, and he was starting to forge out a successful career as a manager. He was such a popular player, not just at the clubs he represented but the whole football world in general. Everyone has been saying what a great guy he was and that he always had time for people. It's a sad day for football."
Phil Gartside, Bolton chairman
"We are all stunned at the news of Gary. Not only was he a top class professional but was a wonderful person who is very fondly remembered by all of us and our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with his family at this time."
For more tributes from outside the club, please read this excellent compilation.