Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Media Intrusion.... not now please! RIP Gary Speed

Answers? Those answers are solely for the Speed family, and I truly hope they find them.

Media intrusion at the time of bereavement is unnecessary. Cameras, camcorders, and gossip mongers alike let this one lie – no twisted rumors from tabloids claiming to have the inside scoop on this one please. For today, the nation is mourning the loss of an incredibly talented professional footballer and manager, and more importantly, two young boys and their mum are mourning the loss of a father and husband.

All youngsters (and elders alike) hold their soccer club in high esteem and furthermore idolize certain professional footballers. The outpouring of tributes to Gary Speed since the announcement of his untimely death on Sunday is evidence of that. It is therefore for good reason we don’t attempt to tarnish a name once idolized.

With a professional football career kick starting at the age of 19, making his debut with Leeds United, a transfer to Everton in 1996, and a subsequent one to Newcastle in 1998 and two further transfers to Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United in 2004 and 2008 respectively. An international career playing for the Wales side with 85 caps and appointed an MBE in the 2010 Birthday Honours – Speed had a career to be envious of. He retired from football but last year he stepped into the management position with Sheffield United, yet 3 months later was appointed manager of Wales. He was the Renaissance man as far as Welsh football is concerned – seeing Wales move from a world ranking of 117 to 45, signals that the future of Welsh football was indeed going to be a bright one under his leadership. He was a true professional with talent both on and off the pitch in abundance. With a CV like this, Gary Speed was and will remain a man to be idolized.

For now, to the media intent on penning rumours surrounding his death – don’t; they are not for this medium, they deserve to remain in the hands of his family. Instead channel this tragic story as a means to promote awareness of suicide and mental health issues to ensure other sporting stars amateur and professional alike are not susceptible to the same fate, for we lose too many to this taboo and undiscussed fate, don’t let Gary be another statistic - this is an issue we need to address in modern society.

To an outstanding talent, and the man behind the renaissance of Welsh football, as Mae West once said 'I like a man who’s good, but not too good – for the good die young' and Gary Speed was one of the good ones! Rest in Peace, the sporting world will not be the same without you.

The Forgotten Irish Graduate 29 November 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

A little eye opener... for the nation's fat cats!

Arriving back from Delhi, India to headlines of a collapsing Eurozone, an officially bankrupt Sean Quinn and an imminent budget yesterday, dare I say it; are we as a nation really that bad off?

Sure the Celtic Tiger engulfed us all in a world of greed, and sure we may be downgrading from the 6 bed to the 3 bed house, and sure we may be trading in the beamer for a banger, but having spent two weeks in New Delhi the definition of the so called ‘tough time’ we are now faced with during this economic crisis for me has utterly changed. Approximately 14 million people live in Delhi, the vast number of people I witnessed during my stay were sprawled across the roadside, living in slums, trawling through garbage for food, and begging for money. I felt ashamed of the vulgar lifestyle we have enjoyed for so long in Ireland – maybe we can’t venture out every weekend for a three course meal, and secure a VIP entrance into Dublin’s finest nightclubs as frequent as we once did, but most can afford a life which can fulfil all our basic needs and may I ask, what else matters? When amputees approach you in traffic, when young kids without parents nearby scamper through the unsafe traffic of Delhi in a bid to halt cars for food and a couple of rupees, and when you pass frail people lying on the roadside unsure if they are alive or dead, you begin to count your blessings!

With a Masters in Finance I’m fully aware of the term ‘recession’ – and the severity of the current Eurozone crisis, but I am also human, and recently awakened to the fact that we live a rather self centred life of oblivion. So next time you moan that you can’t afford the latest Gucci handbag or Apple’s latest gadget – spare a thought for those less fortunate; in truth we are better off than we think! And for those of you with enough cash (still!) – fly to Delhi if only for the weekend and see for yourself!

The Forgotten Irish Graduate, November 2011