I’ve been quite taken aback by the shock and sadness I feel about the sudden death of the Wales football manager Gary Speed at the weekend.
I’m certainly not the only one. Any true football fan would be the same. We keep asking ourselves the same question: Why would someone who seemingly had everything to live for take his own life?
What makes this so hard to take in is that Gary, who had already enjoyed success as a player, appeared to have great career prospects.
He was turning the Welsh side around, taking them from 117th to 45th in the world rankings.
He had a happy marriage with two teenage boys. He had been talking last Saturday about how well they were doing in their fledgling football and boxing careers.
Close friends believed that Gary wasn’t suffering from any kind of depression. On the BBC’s Football Focus programme, he had been discussing his positive future.
Off-air, he had talked about playing golf later in the week and taking his wife out for dinner.
The inquest into his death opened yesterday and has now been adjourned. I do so hope, for the sake of his family, that nothing negative appears.
Depression is still a taboo subject. We still see it as a personal weakness we feel we cannot share. That friends and family will not understand and look upon you differently, in a negative way.
Maybe some good will come from this and people suffering in silence will ask for help.
Two years ago, the talented young German goalkeeper Robert Enke committed suicide. He had been struggling with depression for years and, after the death of his daughter, was unable to cope.
But Gary Speed’s situation seems so different. There is no apparent reason. That’s why the tributes have been even more touching. Fans are united in grief, whether he played for their club or not, by the loss of someone so upstanding.
With the likes of Wayne Rooney, John Terry and Carlos Tevez ruining the reputation of the beautiful game, it makes Gary’s death so much more upsetting.
I certainly know who I’d like any son of mine to have as a role model.