Mens Team

Why Bellamy expected to miss out on City titles

Why Bellamy expected to miss out on City titles
Eight months and 13 days had passed between Craig Bellamy leaving Manchester City and the Club winning its first Premier League title.

Twelve months earlier Roberto Mancini had guided City to an FA Cup triumph, while the Welshman was on loan at hometown club, Cardiff City.

It marked the beginning the of the most successful period in the Club’s history, something Bellamy was convinced would happen from his first meeting with Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

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The timescales mean the winger just missed out on basking in the glory of ending a 35-year wait for a major trophy and a first topflight title in 44-years, but there was no frustration on his part because, he always expected things to transpire that way.

As honest off the pitch as he was with his efforts on it, Bellamy says he knew on arrival in January 2009 that there was a distinct possibility he would be gone by the time City lifted the Premier League title.

“It was a club in mid-table, looking to progress,” he recalls.

“They were in and out of good results and bad results. You have good and bad results because to do it week in week out is tough.

“[To get better] Training has to be tough and the tempo has to be high and I think during that transfer window me and Nigel De Jong were brought in to win challenges in training.

“I always believed from the moment I walked in City were going to go on and win titles.

“By meeting Khaldoon Al Mubarak and seeing the way they had everything planned, [I knew] they were going to build a football club.

“Was I going to be good enough to win you that league title? I didn’t think so.

“But would I be good enough to get you into the Champions League? Yeah, I thought I could do that.

“And then if I can get you into the Champions League and you want to go and sign a Sergio Aguero, who rewrites the history books whenever he wants, then great. Good luck to you.”

Bellamy arrived amidst a period of change.

Mark Hughes had taken charge six months earlier, while HH Sheikh Mansour had assumed control in the September before the then 29-year-old became the ninth signing of the campaign.

The wheels were in motion for the Club to become the dominant team in the country, which excited Bellamy at the time and looking back now, he feels fortunate to have been a part of it.

“Thinking back, it was just the emergence of a club on the up", he said. "A club trying to be better, trying to improve facilities.

"Watching how they did it and watching certain people come in was really exciting for me. 

"That first transfer window, I’ll never forget it. Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez came in and it was just like, who next?

“It gave me another lift to say I’m not worried about who comes in, I’ve just got to be fit and I can compete with these guys and play.

“If I’m not good enough, no problem, but give me the opportunity to compete with them. I was lucky enough that I had it that year.”

A fierce competitor, it’s no surprise Bellamy relished the opportunity and the challenge of establishing City as a Champions League outfit.

However, for him it was about more than that.

The former Welsh captain joined during a transitional period and while the Club was focused on the future, he says its refusal to forget its past was something that stands out from his time in Manchester.

“It was important that they kept the tradition of the football club,” he added in the year the Club celebrates its 125th anniversary.

“I think that’s always difficult to keep. At the time when I was there, I did enjoy that side.

“I enjoyed seeing ex-players coming in and seeing this football club then progressing.

“I was able to work with some really good people who had seen the bad times but were getting better times.

"I wanted to be on that journey as well.”