CRAIG Bellamy: the name invokes mixed reactions from supporters across the country. If he plays for your club, you invariably love him for his all-action style and his vociferousness in the face of what he perceives as refereeing injustices and foul-play by the opposition. If he happens to play for anybody but your club, you’ll most probably hate the little Welsh striker’s guts; he’s just that kind of guy really.
One thing you can’t deny though, is his ability and talent for having some sort of impact.
So when he signed for Liverpool for the second time there was a slightly mixed response from Reds. Much as the first time, I was excited to see him back. I did not feel we should’ve let him go the first time around and given our paucity for strikers I was extremely glad to see us bringing in a forward that could perfectly compliment Luis Suarez’s style.
His time on the field waned somewhat toward the end of the season and rumours that his knees were knackered were rife but he still managed a respectable 9 goals in 33 games (many of which were from the bench), leaving him joint second-highest scorer for Liverpool last season. Goals aside, he laid on one or two as well and, for me, was in our top three players with Suarez and Skrtel.
So, with his sterling Team GB performances at the 2012 Olympic games, you have to wonder what exactly is Brendan Rodgers thinking about in letting him go seemingly without even acknowledging him in the least? I know that Fenway are all about the youth and developing players to be saleable in the future but you can’t win anything with kids. Yes, I know people like to throw that comment in Alan Hansen’s face with rather irritating regularity but he’s right; that Man Utd team with all the youngsters from the mid-90′s contained half a dozen very experienced pros and Liverpool are no different. We need such experienced players as Bellamy. While he may be 33, we could still get another good year out of him and I’m sure the man would be more than happy to stick around.
Many people will, though, point to Bellamy’s age and supposedly knackered knees as reasons why allowing to leave is a good idea, particularly as he’ll probably be on a quite substantial wage. However, anybody that has seen him at the Olympics so far will see a player who, last season, was only able to manage a game a week. Two, at a push. Funny that, he’s started 4 games in about 12 days; that’s a game every 3 days, by my count.
In my books, Bellamy should have a place at the club for as long as we can make use of him. Given his performances last season, he deserves another 12 months with us. On his performances with Team GB at the Olympics, he’s shown why we’d be stupid not to hang on to him for another year.
Live4Liverpool is recruiting columnists. For further info contact the site editor at firstname.lastname@example.org