by Farah Hussein

Craig Douglas Bellamy, the Welsh Wizard, the scorer of the the first Great Britain goal in the Olympics since 1960, the over-aged player that captained GB to a 1-0 victory over Uruguay that saw the team secure a spot in the quarter final, the player that… just doesn’t seem to settle anywhere!
Bellamy has always moved from one club to another, playing for nine clubs in total. And just when we thought Bellamy was willing to settle with newly appointed manager Brendan Rogers’s Liverpool, he signed for his hometown club Cardiff after just one season with the reds.

Bellamy started playing football as a nine-year old with Bristol Rovers before moving to Norwich City’s youth system from 1990 to 1996. He then secured a spot in the first team playing with them for four seasons securing 84 appearances and scoring 32 goals. Then in the summer of 2000, Celtic, Newcastle United, Wimbledon and Tottenham Hotspur were interested in him; but he eventually moved to Coventry City for £6.5m. He was also voted to be in the Norwich City Hall of Fame by fans in 2002.
In the short and disappointing season with Coventry, Bellamy failed to impress after becoming the club’s record signing. And Coventry relegated after only 8 goals from 39 appearances from the Welsh striker. And after leaving the club, he quoted: “I never once enjoyed it at Coventry. I felt quite demoralised. I had enjoyed myself so much at Norwich – but I found I had taken a backward step”.

Bellamy was bought by Sir Bobby Robson to Newcastle United in 2001. Who later wrote, “a great player [Craig Bellamy] wrapped round an unusual and volatile character”. The Welsh international formed a very productive striking partnership with Alan Sheerer and he ended his debut season with 14 goals to his name and with the PFA Young Player of the Year award. His following seasons with the club were going well until he had a fight with then Newcastle manager Graeme Souness where he stated that Bellamy would never play in a Newcastle United shirt again while he was manager. And that was his end with the Magpies and was then sent on loan to Celtic until the end of the season where he managed nine goals for them; and although the hoops missed out on the SPL as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Motherwell on the final day of the season, the Celts did win the Scottish Cup beating Dundee United 1-0 in the final.

The Glasgow club were then keen on signing him but he moved to Premier League outfit Blackburn Rovers in an estimated fee of £5m.
At Blackburn, the former Norwich City striker secured 17 goals in the 2005-06 season. And although it was a successful season where the Rovers ended in sixth place in the league and qualified for the 2006-07 Uefa Cup, Bellamy was always irritated by injuries. And after big clubs showed interest in him, he didn’t hesitate in leaving the club for Liverpool in 2006 for around £6m. And in February 2007 it was alleged that he attacked team-mate John Arne Riise with a golf club during a training session. An incident which earned him the nickname “The Nutter with the Putter”. Club manager Rafael Benitez accepted his apology and both players were fined. And in the match following the incident, Bellamy celebrated his equalizer against Barcelona away by emulating a golf stroke after later setting up a goal for Riise.

The Welshman announced on April 2007, that he was ready to leave the club after lack of communication between him and Benitez. The relationship between him and his manager then improved but when a bid came from West Ham by the end of the season, it was accepted and Bellamy was again on the move. And after signing a five-year deal with the hammers, the move was complete in July 2007 for a fee of £7.5m. His debut season wasn’t the best as he only secured 9 appearances and four goals before injuries ended his season in February. His second season was better though and after an impressive performance, several clubs were interested in his services and he eventually moved to Manchester City in an estimated fee of £14m which was done on January 2009. His new manager Mark Hughes stated, “I’m sure Craig will be excellent for us, I think people will soon see why I wanted to bring him to the club. The fee that gets mentioned is invariably the wrong figure, it keeps being quoted as £19million, but that was not the price we paid for him”. He then marked his debut with the winner against his former club Newcastle making him only the fifth player in Premier League history to have scored for six different top-flight clubs.

He enjoyed his time with the Citizens until manager Roberto Mancini omitted him from the 23- man Europa League squad to face Timisoara. A week later, Bellamy was allowed to train with Cardiff. The club the then moved to on loan. His debut with the bluebirds came on the 21st of August in a 4-0 win over Doncaster Rovers where he scored a 35-yard free kick. He enjoyed a good 2010-11 season with Cardiff. And when rumours spread that he would sign a permanent deal with the club, new manager Malky Mackay did not attempt to sign him. Bellamy requested from City to let him go on a free transfer which Liverpool boos Kenny Dalglish duly did.

Bellamy commented on the issue saying, “I’ve grown up with Kenny Dalglish, now to be signed by him is a massive honour. It’s been a long couple of months, I had to be patient and believe something like this could happen”.

Season 2011-12 was a fine one for Bellamy scoring more than six goals for the reds and winning the Carling Cup against his former club Cardiff City 2-2 (3-2 on penalties) and helping his club reach their fist FA Cup final in six years although they then lost 2-1 to Chelsea at Wembley. Liverpool ended eighth in the league and Kenny Dalglish was sacked.
And most recently on August 10, Bellamy signed a 2-year deal with former club Cardiff after accepting a huge wage cut making it his tenth transfer so far! So where will he go next? Or is this where, as is widely claimed, the 33-year old eventually retires? Until then, Craig Bellamy’s transfer saga will continue unless this football nomad has finally found home.