Moving Bellamy on may be a tough call Mancini has to make

When you look back on the season which finished with a draw at Upton Park last week, most of the highlights will inevitably involve two of our attackers - Carlos Tevez, who almost bagged himself thirty goals, and Craig Bellamy - a minstrel who had for a short while appeared to have found his spiritual home.

Since joining from West Ham sixteen months ago, a move which at the time was seen as a desperate one by former boss Mark Hughes, Craig has almost certainly enjoyed his best spell as a Premier League player. Notoriously injury-prone, his body has held up quite well, and overall he's matured from an inconsistent but lively striker into a lethal play-making wideman.

Away from the pitch he had been having a quiet time of it, too. Few headlines, charming and honest on camera, never seeming less than 100% gracious to be here, and with his good work in Sierra Leone paying dividends. Indeed, it's been difficult to understand why his reputation throughout football has grown into one of a widely-derided pantomime villain.

As fans, we don't really know what goes on behind the scenes. Information is so instant nowadays that any falsity can reach a significant audience in seconds, and though most know not to trust what they read in the tabloids or on forums, some shit will always stick. How good or bad the relationship between Bellamy and Roberto Mancini is really isn't known, but you get the impression the situation is at least uneasy.

The issue of extra training being a problem for some of the senior players was an odd one. One of Mark Hughes' stronger points was allegedly his and his team's expertise in terms of fitness, and he often spoke about improving facilities, the overall shape of the squad and working hard on the more physical aspects being the scenes to see results on the pitch. As much as someone like Bellamy may need nursing through the latter stages of an injury-hit career, a monthly double-shift surely isn't that much of a manager to ask?

As well as the player's beef at having to spend a couple more hours around Carrington - a problem other squad members had, it must be said - there have been other examples of his change in mood since the managerial switch. David Moyes was said to have earned Craig's backing during the ridiculous events late on in the defeat by Everton. I've no idea whether that happened or not, but it strikes you as the sort of thing a younger, more mischievous Bellamy might get up to.

After the deflating defeat by Spurs, the fixture that ultimately cost us our Champions League hopes, there was the curious sight of a beaming Bellamy almost knocking the opposition manager out with the shine from his pearly whites after losing what would have to be classed as one of the biggest games of his career. That may have simply been honourable sportsmanship, but coming from a player hardly known for that sort of thing there have to be doubts.

The biggest signals that Craig's honeymoon period at City is over, though, have been his overall body language coupled with a decline in form. I guess you could argue that since Mancini's been in charge, and the football hasn't really flown, few have performed consistently, but i don't accept that the former Inter boss is negative, nor that his style of play isn't suited to getting the most from the likes of our number thirty-nine.

Towards the business end of the season there were several games i came away from disappointed with the Welshman's contribution. Again, he wasn't alone, but the Bellamy we saw against Spurs, Arsenal, United, Everton, to me looked one well short on he who dragged the whole side kicking and screaming earlier, and the fire in the belly isn't as apparent as it once was.

Not that the lad needs writing off. We've a squad assembled at vast wealth, and over the season he more than pulled his weight, but inconsistency does begin to make you wonder if, as a whole, given how hugely important next season is, whether Bellamy's presence around the squad makes complete sense for a manager yet to win over his troops.

At the start of this season just gone, Hughes talked to the press about establishing his "power base" at the club. During his tenure, he was allowed to be judged on his own players, prematurely, admittedly, but there were senior figures amongst the playing staff whose presence at the club undermined his position. The most obvious of those was Elano - a hugely talented mard-arse who most fans would admit we've missed this year, on the field at least.

In fairness, Roberto has been quick to play down the heat between the pair, but i have my doubts as to whether he's the sort of personality who knows when to use the carrot and when the stick with sort of livewire Bellamy certainly is. If we're to make further strides next season the squad will have to be tighter than ever, and if Craig insists on playing the naughty schoolboy then it's probably best all round if we move him on sooner rather than later. It'll be a sad day, but a move that's perhaps best all round.


  1. Full marks again for calling it as it is 'Stander.
    Bellers has had his moments but can hardly be classed as a consistent performer on the field. There's been more said about him off the field than on it, especially since Hughes got the boot. Just how much is true is, as you implied, open to debate.
    He's the kind of player City need on the field but the kind of personality we could be doing without off it so yes it would be a blow to see him leave, but I don't think it'd be something he'd ponder over for too long given the number of clubs he's got through in his career. Nor would it be something City would find it difficult to recover from should he move on.
    If we can change the "glass half empty" mentality we seem to be burdened with, I reckon if he stays then great- he knows that he's got 2 seasons sparingly used left in him- but if he moves on, we've no need to start lamenting a player who at the end of the day will hardly be remebered in 3 or 4 years time other than for the aggro that came as part of the Bellamy package.
    Bit of small man's disease has Craig, but that screamer into the top corner at the swamp and him emptying wobblygob are worth a highlight re-run on their own!!

  2. Nicely put. I think its a shame. I think in a lot of ways Bellamy and City are well matched. I think he is a pretty loyal type of personality but some of the antics around Moyes (who lets face it hates City although loves to lick bacon faces ass) and Redknapp (suggesting a deal has already been done) leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. I think Mancini's earlier comments (aimed at Tevez but equally applicable to others ) that players who didn't want to be at the club should leave are ones most City fans would echo. As it is we have had to put up with the morons of the media and half wit fans of some other clubs telling us all the time its all about money and City don't deserve what they have. The last thing we want is for players to be jumping on that same band wagon.

  3. I think you are both barking up the wrong tree, Bellamy won't be moved on, unless he wants a move. we need a big squad next season

  4. I think you've got this one right. Bellamy's been great for us, an undoubted success on the pitch who has proved what a good footballer he is. He's had his moments off the pitch too, particularly his subversive criticism of Robinho after the game at Portsmouth where i felt he spoke for every one of us who watched that game. But, the extent of his pleasure for Harry Redknapp after the Spurs game was quite shocking, and his juvenile reaction after the Moyes and Mancini sendings off revealed why Mancini might have to move Bellamy on, even if he is actually the honourable sportsman none of us realised he was.

    Hopefully, the new signings Mancini makes this summer will be of the younger, hungry and highly self-motivated type so that we won't need the likes of Bellamy reminding these players of their responsibilities to the club and its fans.

  5. City has the talent. City can also get MORE talent

    What is holding them back? Attitude....we have too many big attitudes and it is costing City title chances

    Get rid of CB and move on towards more ACTUAL LEADERS

  6. I really like a guy who's a bit of a prick but does his job well. Bellamy was brilliant for (most of) last season. If he wants to leave, let him. If there's a better right-footed winger to play on the left, sign him. It boils down to that. Love Bellamy. I'd swing a golf club at any motha who needs it. Never bought into Bellamy as some notorious figure. English press are a bunch of pussies, seems to me. Love you Bellamy, no matter what.

  7. bellamy may just think another year on City wages is worth hanging around for. if he doesnt go into sulk mode, and has a really restful summer, then we can could get another fine of set performances from him early on again

    i think tactically there is an argument for not having two wingers so that we can vary things up a bit more. if we can have a more defensively minded left midfielder (barry, ie) that creates space for the kind of schemer we so badly need in the centre of the park. i'm going off topic now but it says something about the way we play that DeJong was so often MOTM. his work should be quiet and effective but not particularly noticeable and mancini's problem is how to develop the style of play where we can really take it to teams through sustained possession and passing. maybe bellamy's role is part of that problem too