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Craig Bellamy's book


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Craig Bellamy’s autobiography, GoodFella, lays bare his emotions over the shocking death of Gary Speed, a team-mate with Newcastle and Wales and later his manager at international level.

 

In November 2011, just days after his Wales team had beaten Norway 4-1 in fine style, Speed's body was found at his Cheshire home. Bellamy, who scored in that victory over Norway, and his Liverpool side were playing later that day...

 

Gary Speed was a leader. He was probably the person I admired most and someone I tried to emulate.

 

Throughout my career, I looked up to him and I always took it as a great compliment he, in turn, looked out for me and valued me as a player.

 

Long before he died, at 42, he had become one of my best friends.

 

He was a mentor to me, someone whose advice I sought, someone I listened to.

 

I was a little in awe of him, too, and I certainly knew not to cross him.

 

I knew he rarely lost his temper, but if he did, it was best to make sure you were nowhere in his vicinity.

 

And I knew, above all, that he doted on his sons Ed and Tommy.

 

I was delighted when he took the Wales job in December 2010 and, by the summer of 2011, there was a real feeling he had started to turn things around.

 

We played Norway in a friendly in Cardiff at the beginning of the November.

 

Speedo was quiet. I had a coffee with him at the St David’s Bay Hotel and I noticed he had a bit of a beard, which was unusual for him.

 

His quietness during that week disconcerted me a little bit, but I put it down to the fact he was becoming a manager.

 

I thought maybe it was just that he was putting a bit of distance between himself and the players.

 

Everything was evolving fast. We battered Norway 4-1 and I had a quick chat and a bit of a laugh with him after the game and then I headed off.

 

At the end of the month, Liverpool had a big game against Manchester City at Anfield.

 

When I got up that Sunday morning, I looked at my phone and had several missed calls.

 

Two were from Kieron Dyer and one was from my adviser.

 

When Kieron rang for the third or fourth time, I answered.

 

“Have you heard about Speedo?” he said. “Shay Given’s rung our agent to say Speedo’s committed suicide,”

 

“F*** off,” I said. “No chance.”

 

“I’ve heard he’s hung himself,” Kieron said.

 

“F****** no chance,” I said again. “You know what Twitter and the internet are like. It’s bulls**t.”

 

I got in my car to drive to Anfield.

 

That was the routine on the day of a home match: drive to the ground, hop on the coach to Melwood, do all the pre-match stuff there.

 

Then my adviser called me.

 

He was ringing with the same news.

 

I still didn’t believe it. Not with Speedo.

 

I rang Shay Given.

 

“It’s true, mate,” Shay said.

 

“I don’t believe it,” I said.

 

Craig Bellamy and Aaron Ramsey of Wales are seen with Edward and Thomas Speed during the national anthem during the Gary Speed Memorial International Match between Wales and Costa Rica Tears for Speedo: Bellamy and Wales pay tribute to their late boss

Getty

 

 

I got on the coach at Anfield to go to Melwood.

 

I went to the back and rang a lady called Suzanne, who worked as a PA for me and Speedo.

 

I asked her if she had heard anything.

 

“No, nothing,” she said.

 

I asked her to find out.

 

I was starting to freak out.

 

I rang Speedo’s phone then. It started ringing.

 

‘He’s alive,’ I thought. ‘He’s alive. Thank f*** for that.’

 

Stupid, wasn’t it? A dead man’s phone can ring, too.

 

Suzanne rang back. She was hysterical. She told me it was true.

 

I couldn’t comprehend it.

 

Speedo was my idol in football. He was everything I tried to become.

 

The tears started to fall.

 

I got off the coach at Melwood and was told Kenny Dalglish wanted to see me in his office.

 

“Look, mate,” Kenny said, “I don’t know what to say or how to say it but I have been told Speedo committed suicide. He hung himself this morning.”

 

I started crying.

 

You don’t get prepared for that.

 

My mind was racing.

 

'How the f*** has he done that? Why has he done it? Everything was going so well. Something’s happened. What’s happened?'

 

“Go home,” Kenny said. “Go back to Cardiff. See your kids. You’re not playing today.”

 

“I want to play,” I said. “I want to play through it.”

 

“You can’t play today,” he told me. “You’re not in a fit state of mind. I’m taking the decision, not you. Come back when you’re ready.”

 

I didn’t want time off. I knew we had Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on the Tuesday in a Carling Cup quarter-final. I needed football to get me through it.

 

“If I go home now,” I said to Kenny, “I will be even worse. I need to train tomorrow.”

 

I was still crying as I said it.

 

Kenny has seen too much grief. He knew how to deal with mine.

 

“Go home, Bellers,” he said.

 

I didn’t sleep that night.

 

I was thinking about his kids. He adored them and I couldn’t believe he had left them.

 

And you know what, I was angry with him, too.

 

I adored him and looked up to him and had the highest respect for him. And now he was dead and I felt angry with him for leaving like this.

 

It started to scare me a bit as well.

 

If he is capable of that, what chance have the rest of us got?

 

Some time later, at the inquest, his widow Louise described him as ‘a glass half-empty man’ and she was right about that.

 

He got down easily. He was very cheerful, but he could get uncontrollably down.

 

There was a side of him which could go.

 

If you took liberties, or he was worried about something, you could see it in him. You could see him ready to explode.

 

A lot of players were like that.

 

I was determined to play against Chelsea. I had to play. I needed to play to help with my grief, to do something to try to escape what had happened.

 

There was a minute’s applause for Speedo before the game.

 

I stood in the line with the rest of the Liverpool players. I felt okay.

 

The Liverpool fans started singing his name.

 

It was real to me then and I started crying.

 

I’m a man’s man. I’m not supposed to cry.

 

I didn’t like Chelsea fans. I didn’t want to cry in front of them. But I couldn’t help it.

 

The Chelsea supporters didn’t sing his name, but I don’t expect that.

 

They’re not my cup of tea. They’re not the type of fans I’d want to play for.

 

‘I’m going to play f****** well tonight,’ I thought.

 

And Chelsea couldn’t get near me. It was one of the best games I have ever played. We won 2-0 and I set up both goals.

 

The game was easy after the two days I had just had. It was a performance worthy of Speedo’s memory.

 

Kenny brought me off 10 minutes from the end and gave me the biggest hug when I got to the touchline, which is typical of him.

 

Then I sat down on the bench, put a coat over my head and cried.

 

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I don't normally do footballers books but I might do this one for a holiday read when I go to Spain in July

 

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Riise incident

 

Craig Bellamy’s autobiography, GoodFella, lays bare one of the most notorious incidents in recent English football history.

 

In February 2007, Liverpool travelled to Portugal for a five-day training camp to prepare for their Champions League second round tie against Barcelona.

 

On the last night on the Algarve, Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez allowed the players out for a meal but it was disrupted by an argument between Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise, whose nickname was Ginge...

 

Ginge was a nice enough lad.

 

He was a bit of a child. He was insanely ­competitive. If there was a competition to see who could ping a shot against the crossbar, he was always mad keen to win it.

 

People used to make a joke of it and say: ‘I bet Ginge could do that’.

 

That night at Vale do Lobo, I was sitting with Steve Finnan, who was my ­room-mate, Sami Hyypia and Ginge.

 

I told Ginge he had to sing a song. I might have said it a couple of times. He said he didn’t want to do it.

 

I mentioned it again and he snapped. He got s****y about it. He got up and started shouting. “Listen,” he yelled, “I’m not singing and I’ve had enough of you banging on about it.”

 

Sami told me to ignore him and Ginge left fairly soon afterwards. But as the evening wore on and I had more to drink, it started eating away at me.

 

At that time, the way I was, I didn’t know how to control my emotions if someone disrespected me in front of the rest of the players.

 

I am one of the worst people on drink. It doesn’t agree with me.

 

After a while, I told Finnan we were going.

 

I told him I wanted to sort it out with Ginge.

 

“I’m not having that,” I said to Finny.

 

“What are you on about?” he said.

 

“That ginger f****** p****, he ain’t speaking to me like that,” I said.

 

Finny told me to ignore him. He told me to forget it and go to bed.

 

“I’m not ignoring him,” I said. “I’m going to go to his room.”

 

Finny told me to calm down.

 

“No, let’s go to our room,” he said.

 

He was trying to humour me, like a warder with a madman.

 

We did go back to our room but I still couldn’t let it go.

 

We had a shared lounge with bedrooms that were upstairs.

 

Our golf clubs were in the lounge. I’d got one out as I was stewing over what Ginge had done.

 

It was an eight iron.

 

I started taking a few practice swings with it.

 

“Let’s go and see him now,” I said.

 

I just wanted to wind Ginge up a bit.

 

He had tried it on with me once or twice in training. He had given me a little nudge in the back.

 

I’d just look at him and think ‘F*** off, Ginge.’

 

So we got round to his room and I knocked on the door. There was no answer.

 

So I tried the door and it was open. I let myself in and turned the light on.

 

Ginge was in bed.

 

He was facing away from me and covering his eyes with his hands because the lights had been switched on.

 

I just whacked him across the ­backside with the club.

 

You couldn’t really call it a swing. It was just a thwack, really.

 

If I’d taken a proper swing, I would have hit the ceiling with my backlift.

 

Finny, by the way, was hiding behind the door at that point.

 

Ginge panicked.

 

He curled up in a ball with a blanket.

 

“You ever speak to me like that in front of people again,” I told him, “I will wrap this round your head.”

 

“Listen, I didn’t mean it like that,” he said.

 

“Yes you f****** did,” I barked at him.

 

“No, no, I didn’t,” he insisted.

 

“Yes, you did,” I told him again. “That’s a couple of times you’ve pulled that f****** stunt on me and it won’t be happening any more.”

 

I was warming to my theme now, like people who have had too much to drink usually do.

 

I threatened him a few times.

 

“And if you’ve got a problem with any of this, come and see me in my room tomorrow,” I told him. “Don’t go moaning about it.”

 

I look back at what I did now and I cringe.

 

It was pathetic. It was stupidity of the highest level. It was drunken, bullying behaviour.

 

Eventually, I left.

 

As Finny and I were going back to our room, the coach pulled up outside and all the players poured off it.

 

They bumped into us in the corridor and, not knowing anything of what had just gone on, piled into our lounge.

 

It had been a big night. Nobody even noticed the golf club in my hand. Or if they did, they didn’t mention it.

 

So the night out continued.

 

The lounge got wrecked basically.

 

Sofas were turned upside down, lampshades got knocked off lamps, somebody even chucked a plate at one stage and it split someone’s head open.

 

By the time I went to bed, that room was not a pretty sight.

 

The next thing I knew, Finnan was knocking on my door.

 

“The Gaffer and Pako are downstairs,” he said. ‘Oh, s**t’, I thought. ‘There are a whole number of reasons why they might be here’.

 

I went downstairs. It was not a pretty picture.

 

Rafa and his assistant, Pako Ayesteran, were sitting on a sofa that they must have had to pull upright themselves.

 

Rafa - the most ordered, controlling man I knew - surrounded by utter chaos, by a scene that screamed out loss of control.

 

There were plates and lampshades everywhere.

 

Rafa looked at me and told me to put some shoes on before I cut my feet on some debris.

 

“John Arne Riise has just come to my room to say you attacked him with a golf club,” Rafa said.

 

“I wouldn’t say I attacked him, exactly,” I said.

 

I gave him my version. I was already full of remorse.

 

Rafa looked bemused. It turned out he had had quite a night himself.

 

A little while later, Dudek appeared with grazes down the side of his face.

 

“What the f*** happened to Jerzy?” I asked.

 

After I had left the previous night, things had got out of hand.

 

Jerzy had refused to leave the bar and the police were called and he had ended up in the cells. Rafa had to go and bail him out.

 

I actually felt relieved.

 

‘That’s miles worse than my one,’ I thought as I stared over at Jerzy. ‘That might save me.’

 

That delusion didn’t last long...

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Would definitely be into getting this. I remember him doing one of those "Sixty Minutes With.." interviews on lfc.tv and he was refreshingly candid in that. The book seems to be in the same vein, looks like it would be a very good read. Loved his digs at Chelsea fans and Shearer quoted above too! Has he announced if he is going to play on next year?

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I met David Moyes at the Celtic Manor hotel just outside Newport after my loan spell at Celtic from Newcastle had finished in the summer of 2005.

 

I really enjoyed talking to him.

 

I always liked the way Everton played under him. I love their work ethic and their attitude.

 

Moyes was very persuasive.

 

I felt a bid odd about the prospect of joining them because I had been a committed Liverpool fan since I was a kid, but he sold me on Everton.

 

I agreed terms and went up to meet Moyes again, this time at his house near Preston.

 

I took my suitcase with me, so I could move into a hotel that night after I had signed and start pre-season training the next day.

 

But when I got there, I could tell straight away that something had changed.

 

It was like talking to a different bloke. He seemed tense and hostile.

 

He presented me with a list of rules.

 

They were very detailed and exact.

 

They tried to imagine certain scenarios and dictate how I would react.

 

“If I ask you to move to the right in the 60th minute, I don’t want you shaking your head” or “If you have got something to say, do not speak to anyone else about it, come and see me.”

 

They went on and on.

 

I thought ‘Where are we going with this?’

 

It was a completely different individual to the guy I was speaking to a month ago.

 

It was as if he had spoken to someone who had changed his mind about me. It felt like he was looking for a way out.

 

It was bizarre.

 

If we hadn’t had that second meeting, I would have signed.

 

Now I couldn’t.

 

It was awkward.

 

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright was on the phone saying all the arrangements were in place for the medical once the formalities had been completed.

 

My representative didn’t go into details, he just told Mr Kenwright I'd had a change of heart.

 

A few weeks later, Moyes rang my representative and apologised.

 

I don’t hold a grudge about it. I’ve got a lot of time for him and he tried to sign me a couple of times subsequently.

 

My guess is that someone told him I’d be trouble and he panicked a bit.

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Doesn't that tie in with how he described it, though ?

 

 

Sounded like it to me too really. Babel looked like he could only play off instinct, can't see he'd have coped in training at all.

 

 

Maybe I've got it mixed up, but Bellamy describes a lot of detail about both ends of the pitch, where to run in what situation etc, whereas Babel said they just did defence.

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love the bit about fat charlie adam. what a tosser.

 

 

 

3 June 2013 23:00

 

In today's final extract from his new book, Craig Bellamy tells of how he was alarmed at the beginning of his new adventure at Liverpool when he saw Charlie Adam in training for the first time.

 

I met Charlie a couple of times before pre-season training began, and he seemed a nice lad.

 

He wasn't the brightest but then footballers rarely are. I consider myself to be among the cleverer footballers around.

 

Charlie is a true Scot, and he loves his beer. It's all he ever talked about at the start, having had a brutal close season with a series of lads holidays abroad.

 

Charlie wasn't a shy lad and told the squad all about his escapades, including vomiting into the swimming pool at 2pm one afternoon.

 

He was a fat b*****d too, Charlie, and he could eat for Scotland.

 

Some of the lads called him 'Rab', after the TV comedy character Rab C Nesbitt.

 

The first day at training and Charlie had a 'mare. He couldn't control the ball to save his life, couldn't get his breath and kept falling over while trying to run with the ball.

 

Players are always judging others, never more so than on the first day - first impressions count and though some of the lads found it hilarious, most were not impressed.

 

"Who's this c***?", one respected player said to me.

 

"I can't believe we've signed this useless c***", said another.

 

While one of the club's iconic players said to me, "I'd played against him last season and I knew he was s****, you're gonna need to step it up this season, Craig - cos this c***'s w***."

 

Charlie didn't have the best of seasons and he was sold on to Stoke. I wish him well

Edited by KD07
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