Manchester City fans may be disappointed by the failure of the club to persuade MilanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Brazilian star Kaka that his future lies at Eastlands and many people are joking that they can console themselves with the fact that they have got Craig Bellamy instead!
Bellamy has had a chequered career yet somebody at Manchester City, presumably Mark Hughes, thinks that at nearly thirty years of age, Bellamy is worth Ã‚Â£14million. As an unbiased observer I fail to see how that can add up. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not suggesting that Bellamy is a bad player, I just canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see how he fits into the ambitious plans the club reportedly have.
When he was sixteen Bellamy joined Norwich City as a trainee. He showed tremendous potential and became a hot property during his four years at the club where he scored thirty-two goals in eighty-four appearances.
That impressive start to his career led to Coventry paying Ã‚Â£6.5million for his services in 2000.
At Coventry BellamyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s career stalled a little. He became the first player to be sent off playing for Wales for five years when he was dismissed in Belarus for violent conduct and he stayed at the club for just ten months. In that time he managed only six goals in thirty-four games.
Coventry were pleased to Ã¢â‚¬Ëœget rid ofÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Bellamy to Newcastle for a loss of Ã‚Â£500,000, and the feeling was apparently mutual as Bellamy publicly described Coventry as Ã¢â‚¬ËœrubbishÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
At Newcastle Bellamy was never far from the headlines. Occasionally the headlines were positive and football related, for instance in September 2001 he scored a fourteen minute hat-trick for the club in a League Cup game against Brentford.
However, in his four seasons at Newcastle he played just ninety-three league games and contributed a disappointing twenty-eight goals.
Increasingly he started to make the headlines for all the wrong reasons. In 2002 he was sent off in a Champions League game for head butting and given a three game ban. On his return to Champions League action he was sent off again and banned for another three games.
In early 2004 he was reported to have thrown a chair at Newcastle coach John Carver during a row at an airport prior to a European game. Later that year he was forced to apologise to his manager Graeme Souness following a bust-up on the training ground.
In January 2005 Bellamy conducted a remarkable TV interview in which he called his manager a liar. He was unsurprisingly fined two weeks wages by the club and regarded as being surplus to requirements.
A few days later Bellamy joined Celtic on loan until the end of that season. He scored seven goals in twelve games for them before returning to Newcastle for whom he could never play again.
In July 2005 he signed for Blackburn for a fee of Ã‚Â£5million. He signed a four year contract but stayed for only eleven months. He played just twenty-seven games scoring thirteen goals.
In June 2006 Bellamy made a surprise move to Liverpool for Ã‚Â£6million. He stayed with them for thirteen months. He managed twenty-seven games for the club and scored just seven goals. During this time he was a surprise choice to take over the captaincy of Wales after the more obvious role model Ryan Giggs retired from international football.
His time at Liverpool wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t without controversy and there was a widely reported row with John Arne Riise at a club training camp in Portugal when Riise was allegedly hit with a golf club.
July 2007 saw Bellamy make a Ã‚Â£7.5million move to West Ham. He has made only twenty-one appearances for the Hammers and scored seven goals.
Having looked over his career of seven clubs in nine years, disciplinary problems everywhere and one hundred goals in two hundred and ninety-eight games, I cannot understand how anyone would put his current value at anything like the Ã‚Â£14million Manchester City have allegedly paid.
In the four years since his bust-up with Graeme Souness at Newcastle, Bellamy has played for four different clubs and played no more than twenty-seven games for any of them. He has managed around a goal every three games and earned a reputation as a trouble maker. What has Mark Hughes seen?
Maybe he will prove to be a star and score the goals that start to see City heading towards the European spot that the clubs owners are so desperate to see. On the other hand, maybe he will stay for a while, play a few games, score a few goals and then move on under a cloud. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to wait and see.
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