The Mangle: Bitter Suite Gary December 2, 2011 Leeds United, The Mangle 13 Comments 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.