How Norwich City saved Craig Bellamy £30,000 – but still broke his heart
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Craig Bellamy has revealed he offered Robbie Savage and his Derby team-mates £30,000 to scupper Norwich City's Championship promotion two years ago.
Canaries' academy product Bellamy was on loan at promotion rivals – and his boyhood club – Cardiff as the 2010-11 season entered its climax, with newly promoted Norwich in the box seat and the Welshmen breathing down their necks.
And while some part of him might have enjoyed his first professional club flying high, Bellamy reveals in his newly released autobiography Goodfella he put his money on the line to realise his dream of helping Cardiff to the Premier League.
'It was between us and Norwich,' said Bellamy. 'They were playing Derby and if they got anything other than a win, we would move ahead of them into second.
'Robbie Savage was playing for Derby at the time and I spoke to him the day before the game. I told him that if they won I'd give him £30,000 to share between them all. Pay for a night out, have a meal, do whatever you want. I told Sav I'd even give him the money if they got a draw. That's how desperate I was.
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'And you what happened? They were drawing 2-2 and we were back in the dressing room at Deepdale after beating Preston. We thought Norwich had blown it and then they won it in the fifth minute of injury time. I looked at our players when that result came in and they were on the floor.'
Simeon Jackson's late, late winner is fondly remembered by all Norwich fans – and he struck again seven days later at Portsmouth to secure Norwich's promotion – helped by Cardiff's capitulation at home to Middlesbrough hours earlier.
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'During that week there were two player of the year parties,' added Bellamy. 'It was the worst timing ever. I couldn't believe it. Everyone was patting each other on the back saying we were going up.
'Training that week was poor. Even in the warm-up before the Middlesbrough game I kicked the ball away in disgust twice because everything was just so sloppy. I knew what was going to go down. I knew what was happening.
'We didn't even finish third. The fact Swansea won the play-off final added an edge to the disappointment. We were supposed to be the first Welsh side in the Premier League.'
Fortunately for Bellamy, he was able to return to Cardiff last season under another ex-canary, Malky Mackay, to send them to the Football League Championship and they will share the Premier League with Norwich next season.
• Craig Bellamy GoodFella, Trinity Mirror Sport Media £18.99. Hardback and ebook available. Craig Bellamy is donating all his proceeds to the Craig Bellamy Foundation.