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Stars hit by speed death

GARY Speed was found hanged at home by his wife, an inquest into the death of the Wales manager was told yesterday.

Detective Inspector Peter Lawless, of Cheshire Police, told Cheshire coroner Nicholas Rheinberg that Speed's body was found by his wife Louise just before 7am on Sunday.

He said there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances and a post-mortem examination found Speed's death was caused by hanging. The inquest has been adjourned until the end of January.

More than 10 professional footballers have called the Sporting Chance clinic since Speed's death, according to its CEO Peter Kay.

Kay last night said an unusually high number of players were turning to his organisation, which offers support and counselling to sportspeople.

He said: "I'm hesitant to even link that tragedy with anything good. It's almost inappropriate that anything good can come out of such an awful occurrence. But over 10 players have have contacted me since that news broke. That means 10 people are seeking help. That is an unusual amount."

Professional Footballers' Association CEO Gordon Taylor said Speed's death had brought into focus the fact that those involved in football were not immune from the pressures people face every day.

"It has brought into people's minds the problems footballers deal with," Taylor said.

"I want people to know there is a support and counselling system there because we want to do all we can to prevent things like this happening again.


"We have a very close liaison with -- and subsidise -- the Sporting Chance clinic and we also have trained PFA counsellors.

"Only this season we brought out a booklet on mental health issues and different problems.

"We have been working on issues of depression and mental health and other problems."

Reports had suggested that tomorrow's meeting of the Football Association of Wales council would include tentative talks over finding the man to fill the position left by Speed's passing.

Former Wales and Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has been linked with the role.

But it is understood the council will not hold talks over finding a successor for Speed, with the FAW considering any discussions of such a nature to be insensitive given that Speed's funeral has yet to take place.

The Premier League have confirmed that a minute's applause will be observed at all matches this weekend in honour of Speed.