Ever wondered why the Everton Fans dislike Speed SO much?
NB: The following piece was written while Gary Speed was a Newcastle player and over eight years before his sudden and tragic passing in 2011.
After some consideration, we've elected to leave this available online, content that there's nothing there that would reasonably cause distress or discomfort to anyone reading it:
With our annual trip to Everton now imminent, NUFC.com thought that the time had finally come to air one particular Goodison-related old wives tale that continues to vex us.
As sure as night follows day, Goodison Park will
reverberate to the sound of a familiar chant: "Oh Gary Gary, Gary Gary Gary
Speed's crime was not that the lifelong Evertonian spurned the captaincy and chose to walk away from his boyhood heroes in early 1998. Even the most clueless Blue was pragmatic enough to realise that their massive debts had to be serviced by the departure of big names for big prices. Hence the warm reception afforded to Duncan Ferguson when he returned to the blue half of Merseyside in a black and white shirt in March 2000.
No, Speed's crime was to mysteriously fail to turn up for the coach taking Everton to an away game at West Ham in January 1998, an act that could be deemed out of character for a player who has never been newsworthy due to off-field antics and is considered enough of an example to captain his country.
Having been bothered by this apparent blot on his copybook, we took the opportunity of asking the player himself one night when he was out on the Quayside.
When asked whether it bothered him that he was Public Enemy number one at Goodison, Speed shrugged his shoulders in a gesture of resignation but was happy to give us this version of events.
You may recall that the deal that brought him to Tyneside was somewhat protracted,
with miserable Kenny making an initial bid of £5m in late January 1998 -
the week before Everton were due to play at West Ham. Upon receipt of the
bid from Newcastle, Blues boss Howard Kendall informed
Speed of the bid, but confirmed it was insufficient. He also told the player
that he thought Newcastle would come back with an improved sum, which would
be accepted by the Goodison board.
Imagine his surprise later that evening, when Speed
checked teletext for the final score and saw a story quoting Kendall as
being furious with Speed for his 'no show' and publicly vowing to rid himself of this trouble maker
We'll leave the final word to the excellent Toffeeweb
Everton website (unofficial, of course...)