The father of Wales legend Gary Speed says his late son will be looking down with pride over the national team’s success.
Roger Speed described Wales’ qualification for Euro 2016 – ending a 58-year wait to appear at a major finals – as a “fitting tribute” to the early work his son put in during his time as boss.
Current manager Chris Coleman, Wales players and former stars - as well as the wider footballing community - have all been quick to recognise Speed’s contribution following Saturday’s match against Bosnia.
Speed, who was born and bred in Deeside, was found dead at his home in Huntington, Chester, in November 2011, aged just 42.
Roger told our sister paper the Daily Post: “He’ll be up there enjoying himself, I bet. He’ll be immensely proud.
“Gary made such a big contribution and Chris has taken it on. I always said you’ve got to back Chris.
“He and the players have done brilliantly – I’m made up for them.”
Wales complete a memorable qualifying campaign at home to Andorra in Cardiff on Tuesday night and Roger will be there to cheer the team on.
“It will be an amazing atmosphere against Andorra,” he said.
“I’ve really enjoyed watching them. When the fans sang Gary’s favourite song (I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You) at the last home game, I was in tears.
“It really touched me. It was brilliant.”
Speaking after Saturday’s match, Chris Coleman said Speed would be looking down with a smile on his face, having played his part in Wales' resurgence.
He added: “When I first took the job, I wasn’t doing things I believed in. I got myself involved in a sticky position really.
“I tried to continue where Speed left off and I should have done it my way, but Gary is such a presence and such a great man.
“I got caught out but I wanted to do the things I believed in.”
After the full-time whistle had blown, former teammate Robbie Savage took to Twitter to say: “Let’s not forget the legend Gary Speed who put the belief back into our nation.”
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