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Iwan Roberts: Craig Bellamy’s in-house nickname revealed - and who were Norwich City’s chess masters?

PUBLISHED: 10:55 11 October 2018

Rook to queen bishop four, Doug? Matt Jackson was a keen chess player on Norwich City away days Picture: Archant

Rook to queen bishop four, Doug? Matt Jackson was a keen chess player on Norwich City away days Picture: Archant

There’s been a lot of talk this week about players and their hobbies since the news broke about Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold’s love for a game of chess.

Craig 'best in club' Bellamy Picture: ArchantCraig 'best in club' Bellamy Picture: Archant

I have to say I liked a game of draughts when I was younger, but I never really gave chess a go, unlike some of my team-mates at Norwich.

Matt Jackson liked to think of himself as a bit of a chess player and bought a chess set on the team coach for away games and he, Craig Fleming, Phil Mulryne and Rob Green would take it in turns to play each other – the winner stayed on, of course.

Believe you me they took a bit of stick while the rest of us either watched films or played cards (not for money I must add) as they would literally take an age to complete one game!

Lads used to love a game of snooker and tennis and you can just imagine how competitive these games got. We’d go up to Woodside Snooker Hall near Thorpe St Andrew and play for hours. It was really handy as quite a few of us lived on the Dussindale estate just up the road.

Whatever sport we played, tennis, snooker or golf you could guarantee Craig Bellamy would be the most competitive and that’s how he was on the football pitch and that’s what made him the player he was.

Bellers’ nickname at the club was “Craig best in club Bellamy” and no, that’s not because he was the best player at Norwich, but because if we were playing snooker he’d go out and buy the best most expensive snooker cue. When Wimbledon was on he’d do the same – spend a small fortune on a tennis racket even though he’d only played a couple of times. And that’s where his nickname came from – whenever someone would ask him where he got his cue or his racket from he would never just tell you. All he would say was how much it had cost him and that it was the “best in club” snooker cue.

Shame he didn’t spend a bit less on his equipment and maybe invested in some lessons as he wasn’t much cop at either – but let’s be fair, he did his talking on the football pitch.

Norwich were very unlucky to have their unbeaten run come to an end against Stoke – but what do you do when a run comes to an end?
The answer is, you simply get your heads down and start a new one. I think one thing is for sure – since Daniel Farke arrived at the club the team has definitely played a lot worse and won.

At a similar stage last season Norwich were on a similar run of good form and had not been beaten in nine games, but all of a sudden the wheels came off and they won just one of their next 11 games and confidence was snapped out of the team. That simply can’t happen this season if the club is to have any chance of finishing in the top six and after their performances in the last few weeks there really is no reason why they can’t achieve that as, once again, the Championship is wide open.

The next few games are not going to be easy, with Norwich playing three teams who currently occupy a top-seven position and Aston Villa, who will have new boss Dean Smith bedded in by the time they travel to Carrow Road on October 23. It is going to be a tough three weeks for Norwich, but one thing’s for sure – if the team carry on with the high level of performances we’ve witnessed over the last few weeks then it’s going to be a stern test for the likes of Nottingham Forest, Brentford and Sheffield Wednesday who have come from nowhere to be sitting in sixth position.

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