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Acorn supports inaugural UKFA Symposium dedicated to Gary Speed

Acorn supports inaugural UKFA Symposium dedicated to Gary Speed

The inaugural UK Football Academy (UKFA) symposium at Emirates Stadium on February 8th has been renamed The Gary Speed Football Congress by UKFA founder, Raymond Verheijen as a tribute to the manager alongside whom he worked last year to elevate the Wales football team to new heights.

Acorn Recruitment has been engaged by the UKFA to manage the fundraising and to take enquiries regarding the sponsorship opportunities available. Acorn is one of the UK's leading recruitment agencies, and a Welsh-headquartered business that Gary Speed had a long-standing relationship with.

As a player and a manager, Gary Speed was a model professional who embraced a forward-thinking approach and modern methods. This pioneering attitude made him a stand-out choice as an ambassador for the UKFA for Verheijen and co-founder Guus Hiddink  when the institute launched in November.

The new coach-education body is dedicated to bringing the world’s best coaches and football experts to the doorstep of UK football people. Speed had been due to speak at the February 8th event.

The Gary Speed Football Congress will become an annual fundraising event on the football industry calendar, supported by Gary’s close friends Shay Given, Craig Bellamy and Alan Shearer in association with the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and the League Managers Association (LMA).

Alan Shearer said: “Speedo’s forward thinking approach transformed the Wales National Team. He left a true legacy. The Gary Speed Football Congress will allow coaches to learn from this approach. It is an honour to support this event as it will not only remember him but also celebrate his achievements and everything he stood for.”

The dedication of the event and setting up of the fundraising has been organised in collaboration with Gary’s wife Louise Speed. All proceeds of this year’s event will go towards a charity of Louise’s choice.

Shay Given said: “Throughout his career Speedo never stopped giving to football. He would never resist the opportunity to discuss the game or to pass on advice to anyone who asked. This event will enable him to continue to give something back to football.’

The Gary Speed Football Congress will be open to managers, coaches and practitioners at every level of the game, where Hiddink and Verheijen will be joined as keynote speakers by UKFA ambassador, Sam Allardyce. Former Wales Head of Performance, Damian Roden will make a special presentation in memory of Gary entitled & lsquo; Building a Successful Team’ - A Tribute to Gary Speed.

As well as plenary presentations, the congress will comprise specific sub-sessions for professional, amateur and youth football, and also for medical and sport science staff. All presentations will be delivered by internationally-renowned football specialists, including Marcel Lucassen (Football Technique), Frans Hoek (Goalkeeper Coaching), Ton Van Roon (Football Management), Nigel Mitchell (Football Nutrition), Simon Bitcon (Football Strength Training) and Frans Lefeber (Monitoring Football).

For further information or to register for the Gary Speed Football Congress, visit:


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