FORMER York City striker Lee Nogan believes the family of his one-time Wales team-mate Gary Speed should be left to grieve in peace.

Six days on from the news that shocked the football world – when it was announced Speed had hung himself at his Cheshire home – there has been no explanation for the circumstances behind his death.

And Nogan, who made his Wales under-21 debut alongside the former Leeds, Newcastle and Everton midfielder, feels that such matters should not be made available for public consumption.

He said: “I got a text from my brother Kurt, who also played with Gary, to tell me what had happened and I could not believe the news.

“He appeared to have everything but nobody knows what goes on in people’s minds.

“Whatever reasons there are for what’s happened though should remain private. It should be left alone because the family have got enough to cope with, having lost Gary for the rest of their lives.”

Nogan and Speed were born just four months apart and progressed into the full national team together after gaining U21 honours.

The future Minsterman won two caps between 1992 and 1995 against Austria and Moldova and was a member of several senior squads during that time.

About his encounters with Speed, Cardiff-born Nogan said: “He was playing when I made my Wales U21 debut alongside my brother at Tranmere in a 0-0 draw against England.

“That was the first time I came across him. We were also in full Wales squads together under Terry Yorath.

“I’d have to echo what everybody else said about him. I only knew him in a professional capacity really but he was a good, down-to-earth and normal bloke.

“We mixed socially as a group of players at international matches and he was a really, nice guy. He seemed to me to have his feet on the ground and knew what he wanted.”

Nogan also had great respect for Speed’s playing ability that brought him 85 Welsh caps and a first division championship winners’ medal with Leeds, paying tribute to the longevity of a career that still saw him plying his trade in the Championship for Sheffield United at the age of 39.

The ex-Bootham Crescent assistant manager added: “I played against him a few times and I remember being on the bench when Oxford played Leeds and thinking what a good player he was.

“At Reading, we also played Leeds in the League Cup and, on occasions like that, he would always come up to me, shake my hand, ask how I was and comment on how we had played.

“He was a very fit lad which is why he probably lasted as long as he did in the game.

“He really looked after himself and was a model pro. He liked a drink, like all of us, but never anything excessive.”

Nogan, who now combines teaching PE in York’s primary schools with being Neil Aspin’s right-hand man at FC Halifax Town, also appreciates the job Speed has done since succeeding John Toshack as Wales manager, leading his country to consecutive victories over Switzerland, Bulgaria and Norway in his last three matches.

“It’s difficult going into any managerial job with not too much experience, let alone at international level,” Nogan said.

“Mark Hughes did it and I think Wales are an emerging side that Gary got playing during the last four or five games.

“He had to have been doing something right and the style of play was good too.”

City fans also paid their tribute to Speed’s memory with a minute’s applause before Tuesday night’s 2-0 home win over Lincoln.

No better Mo-tivation for lip service

YORK City should be razor sharp for this afternoon’s home match with Kettering after shaving off their Movember moustaches yesterday.

The players, who were competing in the charity quest to raise money for male-related cancer research, visited Mali’s Unisex Salon in Whip-ma-whop-ma-Gate to remove their lip caterpillars, having surpassed the £2,000 target they set.

A total of £2,438.36 was donated by friends, families and City fans with the Supporters’ Trust presenting a cheque for £250 at today’s game.

Trust board member Steve Beck said: “The Trust are very pleased to support such a worthy cause and send our congratulations to all the players who took part and on passing their target figure.”

Kerr takes all the plaudits for November

SCOTT Kerr has won The Press Player of the Month award for November. The former Scarborough midfielder, who turns 30 a week tomorrow, was a clear winner, finishing eight points ahead of nearest rival Michael Ingham.

Kerr picked up three points towards the contest as our man of the match during last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Forest Green Rovers.

He also collected the two Player of the Month bonus points on offer for the player who received the most man-of-the-match votes from visitors to our website for both the Forest Green game and Tuesday night’s 2-0 home win over Lincoln.

Against Lincoln, our star man was Paddy McLaughlin, who collected three points towards the Player of the Month and Player of the Year contests.

The other points went to Jamal Fyfield (two) and Jamie Reed (one) as our second and third-highest rated performers respectively.

At Forest Green, Jon Challinor (two) and Matty Blair (one) were also recognised for their efforts.

To be in with a chance of presenting December’s Player of the Month with their prize before a City home game, vote for your man of the match from today’s home game with Kettering or Tuesday’s trip to Telford by visiting our website at The Press Player of the Year standings: Walker 28 points, Kerr 15, Ingham 12, Chambers 11, McLaughlin 10, Meredith 10, Moké 9, Fyfield 7, Smith 7, Challinor 6, McGurk 6, Oyebanjo 6, Blair 5, Boucaud 5, Henderson 1, Reed 1.

The November Press Player of the Month standings: Kerr 14, Ingham 6, Fyfield 3, McLaughlin 3, Challinor 2, Blair 1, Boucaud 1, Meredith 1, Reed 1.

Goals: Walker 15, Chambers 7, McLaughlin 7, Reed 4, Blair 2, Moké 2, Pilkington 2, Boucaud 1, Challinor 1, Fyfield 1, own goal 1.

Assists: Chambers 8, McLaughlin 5, Meredith 5, Moké 5, Walker 5, Blair 4, Kerr 2, Potts 2, Challinor 1, Henderson 1, McGurk 1, Oyebanjo 1, Pilkington 1, Reed 1, Smith 1.

Bad boys: McGurk 6 yellow cards; Boucaud, Walker both 1 red, 3 yellow; Blair 4 yellow; Challinor, Kerr, McLaughlin all 3 yellow; Fyfield, Moké, Parslow, Reed, Smith all 2 yellow; Chambers, Ingham, Meredith, Oyebanjo all 1 yellow.