The Gary Speed Suite.

Well, we’ve been told for so damn long about what top-of-the-range facilities are being put together as part of the Great Beeston Project – so what a massive honour, right?

Not so much. To achieve such a lot in your career and be commemorated with your name on a mediocre venue largely for besuited mediocrities to get pissed in – well, I’m sorry to say it, but it’s a bit of an insult.

While we may have collectively yearned for some kind of act by the club to memorialise a top, top, pro and bona fide club legend, hands up who thinks it’s the best we could do?

Hear suite, think sofa, essentially. Dynamism and athleticism on the field commemorated by passivity and a plaque. I can’t help thinking that maybe The Spoof got the angle closer than most on this one.

Perhaps a step too far, but it’s hard not to feel that it was announced and marketed offensively hastily, when it should have been properly thought through. Would awarding the development of our finest young player of a given season for example, not be a more fitting, altogether better thing to put Gary’s name to?

But then, it’s not at all surprising. As a club, we don’t seem to do measured, considered or appropriate anymore. It’s all slagging off our own and other clubs’ players and managers in public, wading into rows over BBC FIFA investigations, and player army days given more priority than hospital visits in official communications. A rotting range of officially-sanctioned knee-jerks.

Greedy, secretive, condescending, crass – these are all words that could be associated with those running the club in recent years. I guess it would’ve been too much to expect touching, subtle and pertinent to be added to their armoury.

This week, I’ve seen those showing any signs of disappointment about this move been immediately shouted down; suggestions that dissenters are just using it as another opportunity to give Bates another bash. But a bit of rationality and healthy criticism is exactly what’s needed here if we’re to be true to our respect for a great servant.

Emotions are running high, and there can seem to an unbearable pressure to ‘just do something, anything’ when a tragedy affects a community – but often this just results in a slightly disappointing rush-memorial.

There should be a sense of responsibility attached in some way to how the name of any hero is commemorated, so that’s why a development/ excellence award for a current or future hero would have had so much more class – not to mention actual meaning, rather than just sticking a name on inanimate bricks and mortar.

Thanks for the memories – now give us your cash for a p*ss-poor range of beer and cider options…Gary would’ve wanted that…

As one of the generation who grew up watching Speedo and trying to hold on to our last crumbs of hope that we’ll ever return to glory, it feels like a chance painfully missed to come out of a sad time with honour and credibility enhanced.

  • rwhites

    Wrong time 0 should have been done after the weekend, thought all this BS was being dropped till then FFS!!!

  • TSS

    Agree, although I don’t think it was actually meant to be a publicity stunt for Leeds’ corporate nonsense. I actually think Bates may have been trying to extend an olive branch by reacting to supporters grief.

    Anything associated with the East Stand development will understandably be met by outright scepticism, the clubs failure to realise that is perhaps the bigger concern.

    I like the idea of a player development award, that would have been much classier than an executive facility that doesn’t pay any real kind of tribute to Gary Speed. After all, he was loved because he was down-to-earth and likeable – not two qualities that immediately come to mind when I think of the people filling these boxes (no offence to anyone reading that has one).

    I’d just like to make clear that Gary wrote this before my inbox is spammed by death threats lol (although, I do agree entirely).

    • Gryff

      @TSS

      They didn’t have to do anything at all for him. A suite might not seem like much but then, our President of 50 years got a suite – so comparing Gary to our figurehead of half a century in that respect is hardly an insult.

      Agree corporate boxes don’t seem right to him in the sense that he was quite down-to-earth though.

      • TSS

        @Gryff Our President was the kind of guy that would sit in one of these suites – it’s therefore a fitting tribute. Not the same for Gary.

        As I said above, I don’t think this was a money-spinning gimmick, I just don’t think it was properly thought through. It kind of adds more weight to the argument that Ken is massively out of touch with the fan base.

  • derbyshire white

    Agreed, tasteless response to a family tragedy. Hope we get through the game with a bit of dignity. If Bates is serious maybe he can hand over the extra ticket sales to the Samaritans.

  • Mersey Whites

    Being brought on the Revie era , and seen countless teams since , I can say that Gary Speed

    would not have been out of place in that team.. And that is probably the greatest compliment I can pay him…. Having never met him cannot judge him as a person.. But to a men his reputation and Honor

    seem unquestioned as a Human being…

    I for 1 thing Leeds could have done more ,, but its a gesture that I am glad they made in a timely fashion..

  • Andy Baptiste

    Have to agree I think having a suite that Leeds fans didn’t really want and only just exists is a bit of a weak gesture. A statue is a must I think, something subtle, somewhere in a quiet corner, mixing with the fans like Gary did.

  • TSS

    Saw the pre-season tourney idea on Twitter, think that’s a great idea that someone should definitely be organising – even if it’s only a one-off.

  • phi1888

    I’m pleased the club is acknowledging Speed, but some of these suggestions seem far more fitting. An award for youth development would be a marvellous idea, and the youth’s would have an excellent example of what they should aspire to be. Has the club received any suggestions or just tried to maksimise the media coverage and promote the new facilities?

  • Craig

    Let’s be brutally honest here: Gary Speed’s death has caught the public imagination in the way some deaths do – but many don’t. I suspect the fact that he was such a likeable man and had young children feature as part-explanations which made the way he died so inexplicable. There is such shock that will linger because we all are driven to attempt an explanation for an act that makes us feel vulnerable and confused. My brother took his own life 5 years ago and he too was the life and soul of the party type. It takes a long time to get over it.

    The unnamed suite was there and it was convenient. It was an ideal short-term response and we should take it at face value. Gary Speed was all of the above and also a class footballer but let’s not get carried away in our grief. If Gary were still alive and I were to be totally honest I’d be pushing for a Strachan memorial far more strongly than a Speed statue because Gordon was a far more influential player for us at a crucial time in the club’s history. To react too quickly would be to campaign for a memorial to our shock, not the person who was Gary Speed.

    • Irving08

      I completely agree with you.

  • number1inyorkshire

    Lets not forget the fact that gary speeds death was shocking not because of the tragedy but as much for the timing NO ONE saw it coming ..

    The Gary speed suite is part of what happens at leeds ,the radebe suite ,howards restaurant ,Lorimers bar etc etc .so lets not get carried away with being too harsh and had nothing happened ,well then what .The powers have too already said that stuff is going in the new museum and rightly so .

    mow there is nothing to sat that all those things can not happen that have been mentioned a pre season tournament ,the gary speed award for the top academy player or even the gary speed fans player of the year as voted by us the fans for the 1st team player .

    its alright saying we need to think of these things but who is to say someone isn,t and something will be announced later ,but for now i think the GARY SPEED SUITE is a start .

    for me a pre season tournament for charity with everton .leeds sheff utd and newcastle would be good with maybe a European invited team .

    maybe every other season

    • number1inyorkshire

      forgot Bolton “its easily done “