To say it was shocking would be a terrible understatement.
Total disbelief filled me. I sat, hunched, over my tiny Macbook Air (this post was not paid for by Apple, sigh) staring at the screen for a good half minute*, thinking this was a terrible misprint.
I never knew the guy, of course, but his passing did affect me after the article mentioned he committed suicide. When he was still a football player, there was no reported incidents of him causing debauchery on and off the pitch. He was always portrayed as the model footballer; dedicated to the game and utterly loving every minute of it. The word on his death is depression. Depression? This man had a glowing career as a player, is on the rise as manager of Wales, has a lovely wife and two children, yet, was apparently afflicted with depression. I can't even begin to fathom what the family is going through right now but I wish them well in their time of privacy.
On the outside, all seemed well, but it seems the truth is far from that. It is really sad, no? You have the world in your hands yet to have such an illness coursing through your being, rearing its ugly head every now and then must be tormenting. When I get depressed, I shrug my shoulders and laugh it off. Even if it's something major, nothing will keep me dwelling on it for long.
There is now a circular from the Football Association going around their members the effects of depression. This is a very good effort from them as depression can strike at anyone, regardless of their well-being.
I've seen how mild depression can afflict a person and even then it was very difficult for me to help this person who happens to be a dear friend. It's saddening and the helplessness of it all is something I wish upon no-one.
Football has lost a talent but it's his family that will feel the lost the most. My heartfelt condolences go out to the Speed family.
This is Chris, signing off.
P.S. I apologise if there is some satire in this post. I originally intended for this to be a rather sombre and serious affair but I've always viewed death as a time of reflecting and celebrating one's life, mourning can be done in private.