Bellamy Exclusive of Snubbing United Offer

Craig Bellamy got cold feet faster than an Arctic explorer when he turned down the chance to sign for David Moyes.

Football’s Prince of Wales also once snubbed Sir Alex Ferguson, now admitting he used Manchester ­United’s interest to win an improved contract at Newcastle.

And when Fergie came back in for Bellamy three years ago, Manchester City vetoed his defection as Carlos Tevez had switched from United 12 months earlier and the noisy ­neighbours were still rubbing their noses in it.

Bellamy hopes United and Moyes will be reminded what they missed when the champions tiptoe into the prodigal son’s backyard tomorrow.

After leading his hometown club back to the top flight for the first time in 50 years, Bellamy and his team-mates have made a decent fist of the Premier League to date. Despite a misguided owner who does not always seem to know his eisteddfod from his elbow, Cardiff have acquitted themselves well under Malky Mackay.

Bellamy, 34, is in the final year of his contract with the Bluebirds. He will decide whether to take an encore at the Cardiff City stadium once the club’s status is assured at the end of this season.

But, for now, Bellamy is gunning for the team he could have been lining up for tomorrow.

“It’s true – my adviser had a ­conversation with United in 2010, shortly before I came to Cardiff on loan,” said Bellamy. “It was great to feel wanted, and I would have loved to do it, but it was never going to be allowed to happen.

“If Man City had agreed to it, then great. But, point-blank, they said no, and I never once pushed it.

“After Carlos Tevez had moved in the ­opposite direction the year before, I didn’t expect anything to come of it.

“Actually, there was a link with Sir Alex as far back as 2002, when my representatives went to see him at United’s training ground, with a view to a move going ahead.

“But Newcastle had just qualified for the Champions League, I loved playing for Sir Bobby Robson and had just been offered a new contract there. To be honest, I used an inquiry from United to hold out for a better deal.”

Current United boss Moyes tried to sign Bellamy at Everton, when the Toffees had qualified for the ­Champions League eight years ago.

The move appeared to be a formality until Moyes unfurled a set of house rules which would have polarised an autocrat and a firebrand.

Bellamy thought better of it and joined Blackburn instead. He revealed: “When I was leaving Newcastle, David Moyes came to see me and tried to sign me for Everton.

“He made me feel the most wanted man on earth, saying I would fit in perfectly with the way they played and it became clear Everton was a really good option for me.

“A couple of weeks later, I travelled to Preston to meet him at his house, still intent on joining, but something had changed.

“He had this list of rules, saying I was to do this and I had to do that. He was saying, ‘If I do sign you, this is what I expect.’ It was different to the first meeting, and made me wonder if he was totally convinced about signing me at all.

“It wasn’t anything to do with ­lifestyle. It was more like, ‘If I switch you to right wing after 60 minutes, I don’t want you shaking your head.’

“Then Bill Kenwright, the Everton chairman, was on the phone, saying the medical had been arranged, but I said to my adviser, ‘This doesn’t feel right’ and we called it off.

“A few months later, David rang up and apologised, saying he should have got the deal done, which was very big of him. He tried to sign me again when I was at West Ham, and again when I was at Manchester City.”

Another liaison with United saw Bellamy hit by a coin in a League Cup semi-final at the Etihad in 2009.

“I’d seen all the sandwiches and pies go past, but then there was a sharp pain on the back of my head,” he recalled. “Edwin van der Sar was clever, he wiped away all the evidence from his goalmouth and made it look like he was trying to help.”
Kids get the point of helping others

Craig Bellamy’s charitable foundation in Sierra Leone has invented a new way for clubs to gain league points – even if they lose.

He put almost £1.5million of his own money into the project, a legacy too often overlooked in his feisty adventures on the pitch.

He said: “Like every foundation, it’s not just a question of sitting back and putting money in. You have to file audited accounts, you need board members and it’s hard work playing the good guy sometimes. But you can’t put a price on the satisfaction of something so rewarding.

“The set-up is really impressive. We have the only grass pitch in Sierra Leone, which FIFA helped to finance, so credit to them.

“Basically, it’s a boarding school for football – and if the kids are not up to date on their studies, they are not allowed to train.

“If they lose in the league, they can gain bonus points by helping out with community projects like wells for drinking water. We’re finding they’re volunteering to do jobs and turning defeat into something positive.”

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