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.

You may also want to watch:

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.

Most Read

“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.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter