007 speedie

DAVID SPEEDIE

Born 20th February 1960, Glenrothes.

Clubs: Barnsley (1978-1980); Darlington (1980-1982); Chelsea (1982-1987); Coventry City (1987-1991); Liverpool (1991); Blackburn Rovers (1991-1992); Southampton (1992-1993); Birmingham City (1992, loan); West Bromwich Albion (1992, loan); West Ham United (1993, loan); Leicester City (1993-1994).  514 career league appearances, 148 goals.

Domestic honours: 1986 Full Member’s Cup; 1987 Charity Shield finallist.

International honours: 10 Scotland caps (1985-1989).

“Mummy, who’s that man leaping like a majestic salmon to head the winning goal?” Well, it could only have been David Speedie, the 5 feet 7 inch centre forward with the aerial presence of a man twice his size (11’2″). If there has to be a concise summary of Speedie’s playing style it would be ‘terrier-like’, an indefatigable chaser of lost causes and an itch in every defender’s knickers. Scottish-born but Yorkshire raised, Speedie was a coal miner before beginning his professional career – as did we all – at Barnsley. However, it wasn’t until his move to Darlington that he started to make a name for himself. Picked up by a rebuilding Chelsea for £80,000 in 1982, he formed a lethal partnership with Kerry Dixon and Pat Nevin and became the first player since Geoff Hurst to score a Wembley hat-trick in the final of the 1986 Full Member’s Cup. Following Chelsea’s failure to win promotion to the First Division in 1986/87, he fell out with their then-manager John Hollins during the summer and moved on to FA Cup winners Coventry City. A frequent – rather than prolific -goalscorer, Speedie’s calling card was his ability to score important goals. His four year stay in the Midlands helped the Sky Blues achieve their most successful ever string of league finishes.

Now a respected and high-profile top division striker, Speedie was signed by Liverpool in 1991, the last signing by Kenny Dalglish and, by extension, of the Boot Room era. Despite a goal every other game for the erstwhile league champions, he was deemed surplus to Graeme Souness’s requirements and moved on to Dalglish’s new charges Blackburn Rovers. It was the start of a spell as a Second Division troubleshooter for Speedie, as first Blackburn (23 goals in 36 matches) and then Leicester City (12 in 37) were fired into the top flight via the play-offs with Speedie’s help. Leicester were Speedie’s last professional club. He subsequently moved into a 13-year nomadic farewell tour through the lower reaches of the pyramid, taking in Crawley Town, Atherstone United, Hendon, Stamford, Harrow Borough, Crook Town, Darlington Railway and Rainworth Miners Welfare before finally hanging up his boots in 2007. Now a commentator for Ireland’s Setanta Sports, Speedie remains active in the Dublin United Churches League where, in all probability, he will play on until he needs a bath chair.