Canaries saved me from life of drugs

Soccer star Craig Bellamy moved to Norfolk as a child to find a safehaven from the dangers of drugs in his native Wales, he has revealed.

Soccer star Craig Bellamy moved to Norfolk as a child to find a safe haven from the dangers of drugs in his native Wales, he revealed last night.

The former Norwich City striker said being taken on by the Canaries as a teenager may have saved him from being sucked into a life of drugs and crime.

Bellamy, who grew up in the Canton area of Cardiff, said: “With drugs I can draw on my own experiences. I went through a situation as a kid where I saw a lot of things a normal 11-year-old doesn't see.”

The 28-year-old Wales captain burst on to the scene at Norwich as a teenager, scoring 32 goals in 84 appearances and becoming a terrace hero before a £6m transfer to Coventry in 2000.


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Speaking to Wales on Sunday, he said: “I've always had little wake-up calls. During one period in my life a friend was taking drugs. I saw the state he was in and it just hit me that I don't want to be like this, I want my life to mean something.

“I spoke to my dad and said I have to move away and get to Norwich as soon as I can. I spoke to Norwich and they agreed and moved me straight up as my friends were going down a different path.

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“I had a choice - go with my friends or move away, and I went away.”

The West Ham forward, who has also played for Coventry, Newcastle, Blackburn, Celtic and Liverpool, added the move came at a price as he was separated from his family and childhood sweetheart.

Despite the narrow escape from the Cardiff crime scene, Bellamy still earned a reputation as one of football's bad boys - on and off the field.

In February 2002, he was cautioned by police for hitting a woman in a nightclub. In March 2003, he was charged with racially-aggravated harassment outside a nightclub, but later acquitted.

While at Newcastle, he had a furious bust-up with boss Graeme Souness, and was fined £80,000 for calling the Scot a liar. He was shipped off to Celtic on loan before being sold to Blackburn.

Last year, he was accused of grabbing a woman by the throat after bumping into her in a Cardiff nightclub. He was cleared after a five-day trial.

Within a few months he was involved in an altercation while training on the Algarve for a big match with Barcelona. He allegedly hit team-mate John-Arne Riise with a golfclub - then famously celebrated scoring in the Nou Camp by pretending to take a golf shot.

He now lives with wife Claire Jansen and children Cameron, Ellis and Lexie in

a sprawling £2m

mansion in St Brides Super Ely, near Cardiff.

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