Dan Walker reveals he’ll be hosting Football Focus from home
Football legend Gary Speed was found hanged at his home by his wife Louise in Huntington, Cheshire aged 42 in 2011. In January 2012, a coroner ruled that there was not enough evidence to suggest he had taken his own life. Almost a decade on from his death, Dan Walker, 43, has said he often questions whether he could’ve done more to help save his friend.
As a friend, could I have done more? As a Christian, should I have done more?
The BBC Breakfast star interviewed Gary’s two sons Thomas and Edward about their father’s passing in his book Remarkable People.
Reflecting on the football captain’s death in a new interview, Dan said his last discussion with Gary was about the latter’s plans for the Wales national football team on Football Focus.
He said: “I think about it a lot really, if I’m honest with you.
“As a friend, could I have done more? As a Christian, should I have done more? Could I have picked up on something either that day or another day and spoken to him about it?
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“I suppose the encouragement out of it for me is, we’ve got to be honest with each other haven’t we? And ask if we’re OK.
“You know, send that text that makes you feel awkward sometimes, or make that phone call.
“It’s hard to say… asking a really good friend or somebody you know, ’What are you struggling with? What can I help with? Is there anything you want to talk about?’
“And, not being happy with the first answer sometimes… you might get brushed off, we all do that sometimes.”
Speaking to Simon Thomas on his Life, Interrupted podcast, the Football Focus star recalled speaking to Gary’s sons about his death.
He added: “I think, talking to them [his sons] and talking to Alan Shearer, Gary McAllister and Gary’s agent, [Melissa] Chappell, who knew him so well, all of them feel that something happened in Gary’s head that night and, for whatever reason, decided there was no other option and everybody feels had they had talked to him that night, he’d still be here and I know that must eat them up on occasions.
“I don’t know if you ever get over that.
“I’ve spoken to people who have lost loved ones and really good friends the same way Gary went and I’d not think it ever gets easier, does it?”
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He added of speaking to Gary’s sons: “Talking to them has really helped me and has helped other people as well to get their head around what happened to Gary back in 2011.
“There are so many football fans and people beyond the sport who still can’t understand why it happened.”
Gary shared his two sons with his long-term wife Louise Speed.
In 2018, she told Wales Online: “There’s never a day goes by that the memory of it doesn’t take my breath away. That scene was like a horror film. I wish there was an operation which could take your memory out and obliterate it from my mind.
“It’s something I will find hard to forgive Gary for. We were the ones who had to pick up the pieces and what he’d done was grotesque.
“Everyone asks me why he did it, but I have no answers. And that’s why I will never have any closure.”
Speaking in Dan’s book, Gary’s son Ed said his dad had “a perfect life”.
He added: “There was just something in his brain. I have always said I can’t quite put my finger on it.
“Dad had the perfect life, but something was going on, or something happened and, for whatever reason, he didn’t look for help.
“That wasn’t him. He would always talk about things but, when it came down to it, he didn’t and I don’t know why.”
For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.
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