Mens Team

Craig Bellamy: The Red Dragon

Craig Bellamy was a decent bloke who came to City with something of a controversial reputation.

He soon became a firm favourite and someone you wanted on your side rather than against it.

Bizarrely, the only chance I had to speak with him was when he was promoting a piece of artwork.

We did it as a Q&A and because it was Bellers - who didn’t speak that often - it’s worth including as part of our First Impressions series…

Q: The City fans have really taken to you – as have fans at most clubs you’ve been with – but they appreciate your work ethic and effort to the point that you’ve become a huge crowd favourite here. Have you found your spiritual home?

CB: “I’m very happy here and because of the situation at this club at the moment, I’ve tried to embrace everything that’s happening here.

“I’ve never looked at the players we’ve signed meaning it would be difficult for me to get a game, I looked around at the start of the season and just set myself personal targets.”

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Q: What goals have you set yourself?

“My first aim was to be fit because I knew that if I was fit, I could challenge for my place and take things from there. If I’m good enough I’ll play, if I’m not good enough, I won’t – I just try and keep everything as simple as possible.

“I never try and do something I’m not capable of doing and just try play to my strengths. Basically, I don’t feel nervousness before a game or nerves of whether I will play well, just nervousness of working hard.

“It’s like a long distance runner training for a marathon – the pain you get before you set off because you know you’re going to feel the same pain during it – that’s the only nerves I get because I know I have to work extremely hard to stay in this team.

“I believe in myself and always believe things will hopefully go right on the day, but first and foremost I have to do as many sprints as I can, I have to cover as much distance as I can because that is part of my role in the team. 


Q: Why do you think there has been such a connection between the supporters and you?

CB: “I try to keep things as simple as I can and I think the City fans have appreciated that as have fans at other clubs I’ve been with.

“They don’t want me to leave and if I do, they hate me afterwards! It can all turn around, but I was appreciated at Newcastle, Liverpool, Blackburn and West Ham but I’m old enough to understand that it can all change tomorrow.

“I just want to look back in future years with a lot of satisfaction of the part I played at this club and I hope the City fans can do so as well.”

Q: This must be one of the best seasons of your career....

CB: “On a personal level, yeah, I think it has been. From a consistency point of view things have gone well since day one.

“This league is so difficult that consistency is not easy to maintain but, touch wood, it’s rolled on and rolled on and I would be disappointed if I’ve not scored, created a goal or won a penalty or a big influence in each game I’ve played this season.

“That’s all I could ask for, really, so from a consistency level I’d probably agree that this is the best season I have in my career to date.”

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What happened next?

Bellamy’s stay at City was all-to brief. He stayed 18 months and played 51 games, scoring 15 goals – one a stunner in the 4-3 loss at Old Trafford.

Bellamy felt Roberto Mancini’s arrival at City would mean his first team chances would be limited and, after being omitted from the Europa League squad for the 2010/11 season, Bellamy moved to Cardiff City on loan.

He would eventually join Liverpool before returning to Cardiff, where he finished his 20-year playing career. A terrific player and a fierce competitor, his City cameo was short, but nonetheless, he left with a host of new admirers.