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David Robert Speedie (born 20 February 1960 in Glenrothesmarker, Scotland) is a retired Scottishmarker footballer who played for several clubs in Englandmarker during the 1980s and 1990s, most notably Chelsea, Coventry City, Liverpool and Blackburn Roversmarker. He accumulated more than 500 football league appearances and scored almost 150 goals in a 14 year professional career. He also earned ten international caps for Scotland.

Early career

Born in Scotland but raised in Yorkshiremarker, Speedie worked as a coalminer before signing professional terms with Barnsley in 1978. Without having scored one goal for Barnsley in 21 appearances, he moved to Darlington in 1980, where his talent first became apparent. Just two years later, he was spotted by then-Chelsea manager John Neal, who signed him for £80,000 in May 1982.

Chelsea

Speedie is arguably most notable for his five-year stint at Chelsea where he formed a prolific strike partnership with Kerry Dixon. Speedie's strength, scoring prowess, work-rate and unlikely heading ability (he was only 5 ft 7 in tall) perfectly complemented both Dixon and winger Pat Nevin as the trio notched up almost 200 goals between them in three years. Before the arrival of Nevin and Dixon, however, Speedie had played an important part in Chelsea's survival in the Second Division a year earlier, with his seven goals (including two on his debut against Oldham Athletic) that season proving crucial. In 1986, he became the first player since Geoff Hurst to score a hat-trick at Wembleymarker, as Chelsea defeated Manchester City 5-4 in the Full Members Cup final.

Coventry City

Having scored 64 goals in 205 appearances for the West Londonmarker side, Speedie joined Coventry City for £750,000 in July 1987 following a disagreement with manager John Hollins. His first appearance was in the 1987 Charity Shield against Everton where he narrowly missed out on scoring on his debut. This statistic would be rectified just a week later however when in an effective replay of the 87 Cup Final against Spurs at Highfield Roadmarker Speedie scored with a fine low shot past Clemence to set the Sky Blues up for a 2-1 win. Whilst Coventry were hampered in their post Cup final season by a disintegrating pitch, Speedie earned the notable distinction of scoring a hat-trick whilst finishing on the losing side in a 3-4 defeat against Middlesbrough. Often in the thick of the action, and blessed with a useful attacking team, he combined with the aerial strength of Cyrille Regis and the wide options of David Smith, David Phillips,Micky Gynn and Brian Borrows to score some memorable goals. His chipped winning goal at Carrow Road a week after the Sutton Utd debacle, against a high-flying Norwich City side, was almost universally described in the press as 'sublime' . This became the Speedie trademark at Coventry and was used to great effect against the likes of Wimbledon and Southampton. He was a key component in an impressive Coventry City side in the 1988/89 campaign, beating the champions-elect Arsenal and riding as high as 3rd in the league as late as February. They would only lose 5 games on their travels that season-winning the same number away from home. Their 7th place finish was only the third time a top 8 place had been achieved. The latter half of his spell at Coventry would see him drop back into a deeper midfield role which led to a significant reduction in his goals tally. He enjoyed just under four years at Coventry, none of which were relegation battles, scoring 35 goals (Cup and league). This equalled his Chelsea strike rate and enabled him to maintain a presence in the Scottish international side. His indiscipline and habit of courting controversy was always a major weakness. Speedie left Highfield Road amid the turbulent and transitional autumn/winter period of 1990/91, which would see manager John Sillett replaced by Terry Butcher. Yet Speedie's indomitable fighting spirit, and his ability to convert spectacular chips and headers to win seemingly lost games, always ensured he was adored by the Sky Blues fans. He ranks as one of the most popular Coventry City strikers of the modern era.

Liverpool, Blackburn & later career

After 1991, Speedie joined a succession of clubs, including Liverpool, Blackburn Roversmarker, Birmingham City, West Ham United, Southampton and finally Leicester City, where his short temper and poor disciplinary record often ensured a quick departure. The highlight of this, the journeyman phase of his career, must surely be the significant contribution he made to the 1991/2 Blackburn Rovers promotion winning team, from the then 2nd Division. It is still fondly remembered by Rovers fans, and included a hat-trick against Newcastle Utd and several spectacular goals. His final day hat-trick against Plymouth Argyle fired Rovers into the play-offs and would be a major step towards the new Premiership/Walker era. He would eventually be involved in a transfer/exchange deal to Southampton involving Alan Shearer. He later played for a number of non-league clubs including Stamford AFC and Hendon where he made 5 appearances whilst failing to score. Indeed his most impressive 45 minutes came as a replacement goalkeeper for the 2nd half of Hendon's first game of the 1996/7 season against Sutton United after first choice Scott Ashcroft got injured just before half time. He retired having scored 150 career goals.

He now works as a football agent.

External links



References

  1. Coventry Evening Telegraph (16 January 1989).
  2. Jim Brown (2000) Coventry City:An Illustrated History.
  3. [1]



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