||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2012)|
|Full name||David Robert Speedie|
|Date of birth||20 February 1960|
|Place of birth||Glenrothes, Scotland|
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Current club||Francis AFC|
|1992||→ Birmingham City (loan)||11||(0)|
|1992||→ W.B.A. (loan)||10||(2)|
|1993||→ West Ham Utd (loan)||11||(4)|
|2001–20??||Darlington Railway Athletic|
|20??–2007||Rainworth Miners Welfare|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
David Robert Speedie (born 20 February 1960) is a Scottish former footballer who played for several clubs in England during the 1980s and 1990s, most notably Chelsea, Coventry City, Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers. 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.
Born in in Glenrothes, Scotland but raised in Yorkshire, Speedie worked as a coalminer, playing for Brodsworth Welfare, before signing professional terms with Barnsley in 1978. Without having scored a single 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.
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 is 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 Wembley, as Chelsea defeated Manchester City 5–4 in the Full Members Cup final. That year Chelsea finished sixth in the league, having been in the hunt for the league title for most of the season before a late slump in form ruled them out of contention in the final weeks.
Having scored 64 goals in 205 appearances for the West London 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 at Highfield Road Speedie scored with a fine low shot past Clemence to set up a 2–1 win over Spurs. 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 and later career
Speedie joined Liverpool in January 1991 and became Kenny Dalglish's last signing before his resignation on 22 February 1991. Dalglish had been interested in signing Speedie four years earlier when he was still at Chelsea.
He scored on his Liverpool debut at Old Trafford then scored twice in the Merseyside Derby in the next league game, and by the end of the season had scored six goals for the Reds - all in the league.
However, his Liverpool career was short and when Graeme Souness took over as manager he was sold that summer to Blackburn Rovers, where Dalglish returned to management soon afterwards.
On the final day of the 1991-92 season, he scored a hat-trick in a win which relegated Plymouth Argyle but most significantly fired Rovers into the play-offs and would be a major step towards a new era for the club, beginning with a playoff final victory which took them into the new FA Premier League, which they won three years later. However, Speedie was not to be part of Blackburn's Premier League adventures. He was sold to Southampton for £400,000, ironically replacing Alan Shearer who switched to Blackburn for a £3.6million national record fee, joining the Saints at the same time as his old Chelsea strike partner Kerry Dixon.
He made just seven appearances (scoring twice) for the Saints in the 1992–93 league campaign, having unsuccessful loan spells with Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion before another loan deal in early March took him to Division One promotion contenders West Ham United. His four goals in 11 league games helped the Hammers secure automatic promotion to the Premier League as Division One runners-up.
However, he was not offered a permanent contract with the East London club. Instead, he accepted on offer from Brian Little to sign for Division One promotion hopefuls Leicester City. He would score 12 goals in 37 league games for the East Midlands side in 1993–94 as they qualified for the playoffs and sealed promotion to the Premier League by defeating local rivals Derby County 2-1 in the playoff final at Wembley Stadium. However, he missed this game through suspension and retired later in the year due to injury, having never featured in the Premier League for the Foxes.
Speedie made his senior debut for Scotland on 25 May 1985 in a 1-0 Rous Cup tie win over England. He won the last of his 10 full caps for Scotland on 30 May 1989 against Chile, also a Rous Cup tie, which Scotland won 2-0. However, Speedie never scored for the Scottish national side.
He continued his career at non-league level for a host of 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 also made a handful of Northern League appearances for Crook Town. He retired having scored 150 career goals.