Leeds' fitting tribute to Speed
Nottingham Forest 0 Leeds United 4
Wednesday 30 November 2011
Leeds United comfortably racked up a fifth win in six away games
against a poor Nottingham Forest, who had Andy Reid sent off 12
minutes from time for two yellow cards as the visitors turned in a
performance worthy of an emotional night at the City Ground.
Last night's Championship match was the first involving any of Gary Speed's former clubs since the tragic death of the Wales national team manager at the weekend. It was at Leeds that he began his playing career and his memory was marked with a minute's applause before kick off, followed by a tribute from the 3,600 visiting fans, who chanted Speed's name for 11 minutes unbroken, starting in the 11th minute of the match, in honour of the shirt number he wore at Elland Road.
Speed was a member of the Leeds team that won the last First Division title before the launch of the Premier League in 1992. He signed professional forms on the same day as the current manager, Simon Grayson, and went on to make 312 appearances.
Grayson, who had exhorted his players to give him a win he could dedicate to his friend and former colleague, said it was a performance of which Speed "would have been proud".
"It was hard for me to concentrate with the fans singing his name," he added. "Gary was a fantastic person and I wanted my team to put on a performance for him.
"And how poignant that at the end of the 11 minutes of singing we should score with a left-foot shot, a goal similar to many that Gary would score. It was a win for him and I am a proud manager tonight."
It was Robert Snodgrass who provided that moment, beating Lee Camp from more than 20 yards. The Scot then set up Jonathan Howson for Leeds' second with a clever flicked pass, to which the captain responded with a superb volley from just outside the box.
Luciano Becchio headed the third four minutes into the second half, after which Adam Clayton fired home the fourth. "It was a night to celebrate the life of Gary Speed and what he meant to this club," Grayson said.
Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Camp; Chambers, Morgan, Lynch, Cunningham (Gunter, 64); Anderson, McGugan (McGoldrick, 64), Moussi, Reid; Findley (Miller, h-t), Tudgay. Substitutes not used Greening, Gunter, Smith (gk).
Leeds United (4-2-3-1): McCarthy; Connolly, Lees, Kisnorbo, Pugh; Clayton (Keogh, 75), Brown; Snodgrass (Nunez, 80), Howson, White; Becchio (McCormack, 75). Substitutes not used Taylor (gk), Bromby.
Referee D Deadman (Herts).
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