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RIP Gary Speed, Dead at 42.

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CARDIFF, WALES - AUGUST 09: Gary Speed the manager of Wales addresses the media during the Wales Press Conference at The Vale Resort on August 9, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
CARDIFF, WALES - AUGUST 09: Gary Speed the manager of Wales addresses the media during the Wales Press Conference at The Vale Resort on August 9, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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Days like today make football seem so irrelevant. After all, how can we continue to care about silly things like tactics, formations, and club politics on a day like today? This morning, Gary Speed, Premier League legend and the Wales national team manager, was found hanged in his home. I am in a state of complete shock. I doubt you could have found a single person who could find a poor word to say about him. Gary Speed was a man who was loved by nearly everyone in football, and who exemplified everything anyone could want in a footballer.  Now he's gone, much too soon. RIP Gary.

Gary Speed's career stretched an incredible 22 seasons, beginning with Leeds in 1988, and ending in 2010 with Sheffield United. That time also included spells at Everton, Newcastle United, and Bolton Wanderers. It was at Bolton where he made his 500th Premier League appearance in 2006, becoming the first player to do so. Following the end of his playing career in 2010 with Sheffield United, he was appointed manager of the Blades. After a a short tenure at Bramall Lane, he left to become the manager of the Welsh national team in December 2011. His career with Wales didn't get off to a flying start, with Wales suffering a number of defeats. They eventually fell to a low of 117th in the FIFA World Rankings in September of this year. In the past two months, however, Speed led Wales to four victories from five matches, the only loss a narrow 1-0 defeat to England. All in all, things were looking up for Gary Speed and Wales, which only adds to the shock.

We're all shocked by the loss of such a legend and a promising young manager, and tragedies such as this put everything in perspective. Football is, after all, a game. Discussions of trivial things like tactics and formations don't matter on days like today. Days like today are days to focus on the things that really matter. RIP Gary, you were a legend, and you will be missed by football fans everywhere.