Support our Nation today - please donate here
Sport

Craig Bellamy’s career in focus as former striker named new Wales boss

10 Jul 2024 4 minute read
Craig Bellamy Cardiff v Huddersfield, Championship, Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff by joncandy is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Craig Bellamy has been named Wales head coach on a deal until 2028 – and with an illustrious career in the game and over seventy caps for Wales, we’ve taken a look at his life on and off the pitch so far.

The 44-year-old, who won 78 caps for his country as a player, replaces his former team-mate Rob Page in the Wales hotseat.

Nomadic club career

In a 17-year senior playing career Bellamy played for nine different clubs, two of them in two different spells.

After coming through the ranks at Norwich, Bellamy instantly regretted joining Coventry in a £6.5million move and moved to Newcastle a year later in 2001.

A productive spell alongside Alan Shearer came to an end after Graeme Souness replaced Sir Bobby Robson as manager, and Bellamy joined Celtic on loan before his former Wales boss Mark Hughes signed him for Blackburn.

A year later he joined Liverpool, reaching the Champions League final, but left after one season for West Ham. Eighteen months later, Hughes took him to Manchester City, but he lost his place after two seasons and went to Cardiff on loan before a surprise return to Liverpool, winning the League Cup in 2012.

Bellamy spent one year at Anfield but then returned to Cardiff, helping the Welsh club earn promotion to the Premier League.

Wales captain

An 18-year-old Bellamy made his international debut for Wales in March 1998, and three months later scored his first goal in a 3-0 win over Malta.

Under Hughes, Wales reached the play-offs in the Euro 2004 qualifiers, but injury ruled out Bellamy as the Dragons lost to Russia.

Bellamy missed the start of John Toshack’s reign through injury but was made captain in October 2006 in the absence of Ryan Giggs.

He became vice-captain on Giggs’ return a month later but it was only a temporary demotion before Giggs retired the following June – although injuries continued to disrupt Bellamy’s international career.

He postponed his planned international retirement when Gary Speed took the job in December 2010, but stepped down as captain to focus on his fitness. He announced his international retirement in October 2013 after Wales missed out on a place at the 2014 World Cup.

Controversies

When Robson signed Bellamy for Newcastle, he described the forward as “a great player wrapped around an unusual and volatile character”.

Though he thrived on the pitch, Bellamy’s time at Newcastle was marked by a police caution for common assault, a £750 fine for using foul and abusive language outside a Cardiff nightclub, and a public altercation with coach John Carver in Mallorca.

When at Liverpool, having appeared in court in 2006 and been found not guilty over the alleged assault of two women in Cardiff, Bellamy had an altercation with team-mate John Arne Riise, striking him with a golf club – leading to headlines calling him “the nutter with the putter”.

Coaching career

After his playing career, Bellamy worked as an academy coach at Cardiff initially on a voluntary basis before being appointed player development manager.

He pulled out of a move to become Oxford boss after the club was taken over, then stepped down at Cardiff to defend himself against claims of bullying – something he denied and was not subject to formal disciplinary action for but later apologised if he “inadvertently offended anyone”.

His former team-mate Vincent Kompany then came calling in June 2019.

Bellamy served as Kompany’s assistant at Anderlecht for two years, before stepping down in September 2021, citing mental health issues.

When Kompany joined Burnley in July 2022, Bellamy returned to his staff, remaining at Turf Moor when the Belgian joined Bayern Munich this summer.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.