CRAIG BEL­LAMY

Midweek Sport - - SPORT - By JON LIVESEY

MOD­ERN foot­ball is packed full of pam­pered prima don­nas and man-bag car­ry­ing bores.

The game is cry­ing out for some characters to spice things up.

In our fea­ture, we re­mind you of the vi­o­lent nut­ters, randy rebels and VIS­IT­ING a karaoke bar with Craig Bel­lamy can be bad for your health – just ask John Arne Ri­ise.

In 2007, dur­ing a Liver­pool train­ing camp in the Al­garve, the Nor­we­gian full­back re­fused to get up and sing on a team-bond­ing trip to a karaoke bar, spark­ing a fu­ri­ous re­ac­tion from Bel­lamy.

And the Welsh­man wasn’t fin­ished there.

Once the fri­vol­i­ties were over, Bel­lamy armed him­self with a golf club, tracked down Ri­ise at his ho­tel room and, ac­cord­ing to re­ports, took a swing at him, leav­ing him with bruised legs.

Fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent, which earned him the nick­name, The Nut­ter With The Put­ter, he is­sued a full apol­ogy, be­fore cel­e­brat­ing his next goal, against Barcelona, by sim­u­lat­ing a golf swing.

By this point, Bel­lamy had al­ready forged a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the game’s most volatile characters.

In 2002, while play­ing for New­cas­tle, he was cau­tioned for com­mon as­sault af­ter an in­ci­dent out­side one of the city’s night­clubs.

Abu­sive

Then, two years later, he threw a chair at coach John Carver fol­low­ing a spat on the way to a UEFA Cup match in Spain and had to be con­vinced to travel to the game by then boss Bobby Rob­son.

Graeme Souness re­placed Rob­son in 2004 but Bel­lamy didn’t see eye-to-eye with his new man­ager.

When told to play on the right of mid­field spot, it’s al­leged that Bel­lamy re­fused and threat­ened to fake an in­jury if Souness asked again.

He called Souness a liar in the press and was fined £80,000.

Bel­lamy was loaned to Celtic, but not even 150 miles could stop him piss­ing off the Toon fans.

Fol­low­ing New­cas­tle’s FA Cup semi-fi­nal de­feat, club cap­tain Alan Shearer re­ceived a se­ries of abu­sive mes­sages sent from Bel­lamy’s phone.

Ap­par­ently, the texts ques­tioned Shearer’s age and abil­ity, with one read­ing: “Your legs are gone. You’re too old. You’re too slow.”

In re­sponse, Shearer was al­leged to have threat­ened to “knock his block off”.

Bel­lamy de­nied send­ing the texts, say­ing his phone had been lost.

Around 18 months later, in Novem­ber 2006, Bel­lamy ap­peared in court charged with as­sault­ing two women in pea­cock­ing play­boys who over the years have graced the beau­ti­ful game with their pres­ence.

Ev­ery week we’ll be look­ing at a dif­fer­ent one of the sport’s most men­tal mav­er­icks. And this week it’s the man they call The Nut­ter With The Put­ter, Craig Bel­lamy. Cardiff, but the striker was cleared af­ter a five-day trial.

In a sub­se­quent spell at Black­burn Rovers, Bel­lamy man­aged to stay out of trou­ble.

How­ever, shortly af­ter his al­ter­ca­tion with Ri­ise in 2007, he moved to West Ham, where he man­aged to get into a vi­cious war of words with man­ager Alan Cur­bish­ley af­ter his first game.

Dur­ing West Ham’s pre­sea­son clash with Ipswich – lo­cal ri­vals of his first club, Nor­wich – he was ac­cused of abus­ing their sup­port­ers, mak­ing ref­er­ence to the town’s hook­ers.

And at his next club, Manch­ester City, he got into a scrap with a fan who in­vaded the pitch.

TV footage showed him slap­ping the fan in the face as he was es­corted off.

Most re­cently, he was ar­rested in Cardiff and bailed on an al­leged as­sault claim re­lat­ing to an in­ci­dent where two men suf­fered fa­cial in­juries. He was never charged. But for all his bad points, he does a lot of work for char­ity and has in­vested £1.2 mil­lion of his hard-earned cash since 2007 to help build a not-for-profit foot­ball academy in Sierra Leone. On Bel­lamy, Rob­son said: “He’s the only man I know who could start an ar­gu­ment with him­self.”

Bel­lamy him­self said: “If I ever do a book – which I won’t – the head­line will be Don’t Google Me.”

BELLY ACHE: Bel­lamy has never been shy of say­ing

his piece

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