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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 July, 2004, 09:24 GMT 10:24 UK
Speed joins Bolton
Newcastle's Gary Speed
Newcastle and Wales midfielder Gary Speed has completed his 750,000 move to Bolton.

The 34-year-old, who has been at St James' Park since 1998 and holds the Premiership appearance record, has signed a two-year-deal.

"I am delighted to sign a player of Gary's quality," said Bolton boss Sam Allardyce. "He's a very experienced Premiership player."

Middlesbrough and Fulham were also believed to have been keen on him.

Allardyce added: "Gary was eager to join us and turned down offers from other clubs to become a Bolton player.

"He has great enthusiasm for the game and will add a bit of steel to our midfield."

Speed, who has also played for Leeds and Everton, will join his new team-mates once they return from their short pre-season trip to Portugal.

The midfielder could make his debut against Bradford at Valley Parade on Saturday.

And he admitted: "I have mixed emotions at the moment because Newcastle have been a fantastic club for me, especially in the professional way they have dealt with my departure.

"I didn't particularly want to leave but Bolton made me an offer which showed they wanted me.

"There were other options but the moment I met Sam Allardyce and the other staff here I felt very comfortable and know I have made the right decision."

Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd admitted Speed will be missed at St James' Park.

He said: "It's always difficult to let a player like Gary go. He is one of the best of the best as a player. He is totally professional and he always gave 100%.

"He has had a fabulous career here and he is one of my favourite players.

"Bolton has acquired a very fine player and he will do well for them. I wish him all the luck, happiness and contentment in the world and wish him all the best for his future."

Speed's departure will increase speculation that Newcastle will now bid for Manchester United midfielder Nicky Butt.

Speed, the Wales captain, began his professional career with Leeds and played a key role in the club winning the old First Division title in 1992.

He left Leeds for Everton in 1996, joining the Toffees for 3.5m and two years later moved to Newcastle for 5.5m.

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