Sheffield United: Speed’s sister reveals star battled with depression

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Gary Speed’s sister has revealed how the former Sheffield United manager felt unable to confide in anyone about his depression.

Speed, who also represented the South Yorkshire club as a player before taking charge of Wales in 2010, was found dead at his Cheshire home two years ago.

Louise Speed, speaking during an interview for the forthcoming documentary ‘Football’s Suicide Secret,’ said: “If someone had asked me (at the time) if I thought that my brother was depressed I’d have said no, absolutely not.

“From what I know now about depression and suicide, of course he was depressed.

“He hid it from us, because people who are suffering from depression are not only fighting the illness but they are fighting the stigma that goes with it.

“It probably stopped him from asking for help from within his job.”

Speed, capped 85 times by his country, made 40 appearances for United before pursuing a coaching career. He also played for Newcastle, Everton, Leeds and Bolton Wanderers ahead of his transfer to Bramall Lane.

“I think trust had a lot to do with it,” Louise continued. “Who could he trust? What if it got out?

“It was seen as weak. Depression wasn’t really talked about in our family, it was something that you didn’t have.

“Pull yourself together is the common thing that people say to you.

“You get treated if you are suffering from an illness, but with depression people tend to withdraw and you don’t know; you don’t have any idea. “Maybe he thought he had to put on this persona, and hide the way he was feeling.”

“We were just so sad that we couldn’t help him through.

“That is a huge regret, that I didn’t set him to one side and say ‘Is everything all right?’ Even now when we look back it is so unbelievable and we miss him.”

Football’s Secret Suicide will be broadcast on BBC Three next week.