Home Football Premier League Heroes: Craig Bellamy

Premier League Heroes: Craig Bellamy

Today’s Premier League hero needs no introduction, he is one of the most well-known strikers to have graced the modern age of top flight English football, partly down to the amount of clubs he has been at over the years and partly due to his goalscoring exploits.

Craig Bellamy enjoyed a long career in English football as he played with several top flight clubs in the Premier League. On the 1st of February, Bellamy became the first ever player to score for seven different clubs in the Premier League when he netted for Cardiff in a 2-1 victory over Norwich City.

The pint-sized star was known to be outspoken and feisty but also showed passion and determination every time he was on the football pitch. Bellamy was full of pace, skill and had a great eye for scoring and creating goals.

During his time in English football, Bellamy played 294 Premier League games and netted 81 times in the top flight while he also managed to win a League Cup (11/12), a Community Shield (2006), Premier League Goal Of The Month award twice (April 2006 & September 2009) and was named PFA Young Player of the Year for the 2001/02 season.

Craig Douglas Bellamy was born on the 13th of July 1979 in Cardiff, Wales. Bellamy began his football career at Bristol Rovers aged nine and was snapped up by Norwich City at the age of eleven. Bellamy made his professional debut for Norwich on the 15th of March 1997 in a First Division loss to Crystal Palace.

The Welsh striker stayed at Norwich for four seasons and scored 32 times in 84 appearances before moving on to Premier League side Coventry City for £6m. Bellamy only stayed at Coventry City for a season as he scored six times in 35 appearances before the club finished 19th and were relegated, which ended 34 years of successive top flight football.

Bellamy later admitted that he regretted leaving Norwich, telling the press,

“I never once enjoyed it at Coventry. I felt quite demoralised. I had enjoyed myself so much at Norwich and I found I had taken a backward step.”

The Welsh forward moved on to Newcastle United in July 2001 for £6.5m and scored on his home debut against Belgian side Lokeren in the Intertoto Cup. Bellamy made himself a fan favourite at Newcastle on the 28th of August 2001 as he scored in the Tyne-Wear derby, which ended 1-1.

This was a great start to the season for the striker as he managed to quickly create a great partnership with Newcastle legend Alan Shearer and ended the season with 14 goals in all competitions, including ten in the league as Newcastle finished 4th. The next three seasons weren’t as good though as he struggled to get into double figures with his goals as Newcastle finished 3rd, 5th and 14th in the following three seasons.

It became obvious as time went on that Bellamy would leave Newcastle and he went on-loan to Celtic for the second half of the 2004/05 season and scored nine times for the Scottish club.

Blackburn Rovers signed Bellamy for an undisclosed fee on a four year contract on the 8th of July 2005 and he enjoyed a great season with the club as his 13 league goals helped Blackburn go from 15th to 6th in the league. This season also saw Bellamy named Blackburn’s Player of the Year, which caught the attention of some of the big clubs in the Premier League.

Liverpool had a bid of £6m accepted for Bellamy by Blackburn and he moved to Merseyside on the 20th of June 2006 (transfer completed on July 1st 2006). Bellamy began on the right foot by scoring on his Champions League debut in a game against Maccabi Haifa but had to wait until mid-October for his first Premier League goal for Liverpool.

The Welsh forward found his form in December and January while he was involved in a bust up involving a golf club with team-mate John Arne Riise in February, before a giant Champions League clash with Barcelona. Ironically, it was Bellamy and Riise that gave Liverpool a 2-1 win over the Catalan Giants and Bellamy celebrated with a golf swing gesture to the crowd.

Liverpool made it to the Champions League final in May 2007 in Athens but Bellamy was an unused substitute in the 2-1 loss to AC Milan. Bellamy moved on to West Ham United on the 10th of July 2007 for £7.5m and made an instant impact by scoring twice in a 2-1 victory over Bristol Rovers in a League Cup tie on the 28th of August 2007.

Unfortunately, it was to be an injury blighted season for Bellamy as he only managed to make nine appearances and score twice in his first season with the Hammers. Bellamy returned for West Ham in the third game of the 2008/09 season and scored in their 4-1 win over Blackburn Rovers while he found a bit of his form again by scoring five times in the first half of the season.

Manchester City swooped in for the striker on the 19th of January 2009 and signed him for a whopping £14m but it seemed to be worth it as he scored the winning goal on his debut to help City defeat Newcastle. Bellamy ended the second half of the 2008/09 season with three goals but it got better for the striker the next term as he hit double figures for City, including goals against Arsenal and Manchester United.

Bellamy became unsure whether he would have a role to play at City in the 2010/11 season and it resulted in the Welsh star returning home on a loan deal to Cardiff City. Bellamy impressed during his stint at Cardiff and helped them finish fourth but unfortunately they didn’t succeed in gaining promotion through the play-offs.

Bellamy was unsure of his future in August 2011 but Liverpool swooped in on deadline day and signed the pacey forward on a free transfer. Bellamy was only happy to return to Anfield and stated that Dalglish had a big influence in him returning to Liverpool as he said,

“I’ve grown up with Kenny Dalglish and now to be signed by him is a massive honour”. Bellamy scored in 1-1 draw with Norwich and made two important assists in the League Cup quarter-final game against Chelsea which Liverpool won 2-0. Bellamy then finished 2011 with two league goals in a 2-0 win against former club Newcastle.

In 2012, Bellamy scored his 150th career goal against Oldham Athletic in a cup tie and then scored a hugely important goal against Manchester City on the 25th of January 2012 which put Liverpool through to the League Cup final which they won on penalties against Bellamy’s hometown Cardiff. Bellamy also managed to reach the FA Cup final with Liverpool but they lost out on the cup to Chelsea.

On the 10th of August 2012, it was announced that Bellamy had agreed to sign for Cardiff City on a free transfer and he had a fantastic season as he scored important goals for the club. Bellamy experienced one of his career highlights when Cardiff had secured promotion to the Premier League on April 16th 2013.

Bellamy achieved one of his dreams by playing for his hometown Cardiff in the Premier League in the 2013/14 season and set a record on February 1st 2014 as his goal against Norwich City meant he was the first ever player to score for seven different Premier League teams.

Bellamy announced his retirement on the 22nd of May 2014 and stated his decision was due to the amount of injuries he had received in his career,

“The time has come to stand aside and say enough. My body can’t take anymore.”

Sarah Fitzpatrick, Pundit Arena

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