EKSKLUSIEF: Gary Speed’s widow Louise finally finds happiness with a millionaire property developer who helped her cope with loneliness after the Premier League star took his own life
Gary Speed’s widow has found happiness with a millionaire property developer, who has helped her cope with loneliness after the star took his own life.
Louise opened up in an onderhoud at the weekend to mark the tenth anniversary since the death of the former Wales football manager and announced she had found love after years of unhappiness.
It can now be revealed that the man who helped to heal her heartbreak is businessman Quinton Bird, 52, a divorced father-of-three.
She and Mr Bird have been business partners as the only directors of successful new build and renovation company Bow Property Development in Chester for six years.
Mr Bird has been open about their relationship on Facebook page, where his account features photos of the happy couple. One post is from a summer holiday and another, van 2019, with Quinton and Louise dressed in hiking gear, is captioned ‘Lakes with Lou!’
Mother-of-two Louise told the Daily Mail that the death of her childhood sweetheart Gary – who took his own life in 2011 – had left her with many unanswered questions, and in the immediate aftermath she suffered two years of ‘struggling to get off the sofa’.
Louise Speed, the widow of Premier League football star Gary Speed, is now happily in a new relationship with businessman Quinton Bird, 52, a divorced father-of-three. Pictured together
Louise (op die foto) spoke candidly to admit the loneliness she felt when Gary took his own life ten years ago. She said she drank a bottle of wine most nights for two years to numb the pain
Louise and Gary were childhood sweethearts who got together when they were 13 and raised two boys while he went on to have a glittering football career, becoming Wales manager
Onthou sy: ‘It was like being in the worst nightmare possible. There were no answers and no Gary walking through the door again. Nothing was ever going to be right again.
‘I was trudging through life, just functioning. If I could have been anybody else apart from me, vir 'n lang tyd, I would have happily taken it. But we are 10 years on now. It’s a cliché but time is a healer even if it takes years. I have learned that life can be good again, can be great again.’
Sharing that she was in a new relationship, het sy bygevoeg: ‘I don’t think you move on from something like this as the same person,’ sy het gese. ‘I have become wiser. I am probably more confident than I was.
‘But I tend to wear a body of armour around me the whole time, if I am honest — so that I cannot be hurt again. I know as we go through life different things hit us and I actually think that I deal with things OK now. Nothing fazes me or scares me anymore.
Spoed (pictured playing for Wales) was manager of his country when he took his life
‘I don’t know if that body of armour has developed over time or whether I deliberately put it on at some point. All I know is that it is there now and it wasn’t 10 jare terug.
‘I just want to protect myself from life. I don’t want to feel or go through anything like that ever again. I hope that makes sense.’
She also revealed that while going through a box of possessions a few years ago she came across a letter Gary had written but never sent to her when he was first at Leeds. In it he admits to suicidal thoughts. Hy was 17.
‘That letter was never sent,’ sy sê. ‘That was the first I knew of it. But my conclusion is that to do what Gary did you must be unwell in your mind. He couldn’t talk, didn’t want to talk. He had all the opportunity through people like the League Managers Association.
‘If anybody in football had come to him with problems he would have sent them off in the right direction. But he didn’t do that for himself. So all I can say or presume is that he didn’t want to or couldn’t talk about whatever it was.’
Gary and Louise’s two sons Eddie and Tommy were just 14 en 13 when they lost their father. Both are now studying in New York, and are gifted footballers.
‘It hasn’t been easy but we are getting there,’ Tommy told Sportsmail. ‘It has been hard to move on but I have to.
Now Louise has shared how she has found happiness again with millionaire businessman Mr Bird (saam afgebeeld). The couple are listed as directors of a property company they run
‘I am proud of Dad. I always watch videos of his goals and matches. But I couldn’t be the man I am today without mum.’
Gary and Louise first got together as 15-year-olds in Flintshire, North Wales and their first date was at a tennis club when he forgot his racket.
Vir 20 jare, her life was dominated by Gary’s career in football, first in Leeds where he won the old Divison One trophy under Howard Wilkinson and they got married.
Then she followed him back to the North West to Everton and then to Newcastle. Speed played his later football at Bolton and finally Sheffield United, where he took over as manager in 2010.
Wanneer, with only four months’ managerial experience he was appointed Wales manager in early 2011, Louise said she was ‘excited’ as it was not as demanding as club football and the couple could plan more, but within a few months, Gary would be dead.
The night before he died, the couple had a row, die geregtelike doodsondersoek gehoor.
Louise said she had gone for a drive after they had words when they returned from a dinner party, but she could not get back into the house.
She found his body in the garage early the next morning.
Louise and gary had two sons together Eddie (links) en Tommie (reg) who have both grown up to be good footballers and are now studying in New York, where they live 20 minute uitmekaar
Four days earlier Speed, 42, sent his wife a text talking ‘in terms of taking his life’, but she said he had dismissed it because of their children.
She said the text conversation referred to their ‘ups and downs’ but also mentioned ‘how important the boys were’ and about ‘moving forward’.
The coroner at the inquest said he could not be satisfied he intended to kill himself.
His friend, the former England captain Alan Shearer, who was with him the day before he was found dead, said he had become aware there were issues between the couple.
Shearer, whose family went on holiday with the Speeds, said he told him such issues were normal in a long-standing relationship.
Shearer last saw him at lunchtime on the Saturday before he died, when Speed appeared on the BBC’s Football Focus programme.
He said Speed seemed fine and was laughing and joking.
The inquest was told about a dinner party hosted by a friend of Speed the night before he died, when he was in good spirits.
Speed had been pushed in the pool with his clothes on, along with other men, and he had tried to push everyone else in the spirit of good fun. He had also been talking of booking a Christmas holiday to Dubai.
Louise has revealed that the last few years have been tough for her. She said in an interview with the Mail: ‘Can I forgive Gary? Ek weet nie. It’s caused us so much hurt… but I want to.’
Gary and Louise smile for the camera as they appeared at his former teammate Shay Given’s Fashion Kicks event held at Lancashire County Cricket Club in Manchester
Robert Bateman, the taxi driver who took the Speeds home, said everything had seemed normal and they were ‘as normal as they always are’.
The inquest was told Speed had alcohol in his blood, just over the UK drink-drive limit of 80mg.
The inquest heard that investigators believed Speed had been sitting in his garage. Where he was found was wet from his trousers, following his earlier dip in the pool.
The coroner said what was going through his mind was unclear, but he knew his wife was in the vicinity and perhaps he expected to be found.
Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Rheinberg said: ‘It seems likely that Mr Speed was sitting for some time with a ligature around his neck.
‘It may have been that this was some sort of dramatic gesture, not normally in Mr Speed’s character, but nonetheless, a possibility.’