On the news that he had been declared bankrupt, Craig Bellamy issued a heartfelt letter to young football players saying, “I want this to be a warning.”
Former forward for Liverpool, West Ham, Newcastle, and Manchester City has spoken out about his troubles with money in an interview with the Mail. He also disclosed how the people in his life whom he trusted the most took advantage of him in the end.
During his 18-year career, which was frequently interrupted by injuries, the former Welsh international received over 70 caps for his country. He was no stranger to controversy during his playing days. Following a 1-0 loss to Tottenham in 2010, his former manager at Manchester City, Roberto Mancini, referred to him as “disrespectful and unprofessional.”
It was also reported that he attacked John Arne Riise with a golf club while he was playing for Liverpool, but Bellamy maintains that this allegation is completely fabricated.
But, he is also well-known for his philanthropy and the extraordinary compassion he displays towards others. He has sponsored the schooling of a youngster from a slum in Rio de Janeiro, as well as established a school in Sierra Leone and paid for the funerals of complete strangers in Cardiff.
Yet, he is using the shocking revelation of his financial disaster to send a message to today’s young players, warning them to be careful about who they trust with their money. It has been reported that Bellamy owes Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs the sum of £1,398,071.20.
Early in the month of February, HMRC initiated legal action against him by submitting a petition to the High Court. According to the documents filed with the court, “it is ordered that Craig Douglas Bellamy be adjudicated bankrupt.”
After a string of unsuccessful business endeavours and placing his trust in the incorrect individuals, he is currently in a tough financial situation called “death row.”
In an interview with the Mail, Bellamy said: “I’m not a tax-dodger, but I have been very naïve and the HMRC have been pursuing me for unpaid tax for some time. Everything I have had has been taken from me. If you get the wrong people advising you it all haemorrhages, it all dwindles. It has got to the point where bankruptcy is a relief.
“I know some people will probably think I have squandered my money on drinking or gambling or drugs. I haven’t. I can go quiet where you won’t hear from me, but I won’t be down the pub. I have never touched drugs since I was young. I don’t gamble. I have never gambled. It doesn’t make any sense to me. But I have gambled on people, unfortunately.
“The money I’ve earned, I can’t get a mortgage. Financially I have no future. The hurt of that. I can’t own anything. Everything’s gone.”
I Gambled on People
“I know some people will probably think I have squandered all my money on drinking or gambling or drugs. I haven’t. I can go quiet where you won’t hear from me, but I won’t be down the pub. I have never touched drugs since I was a young kid. I don’t gamble. I have never gambled. It doesn’t make any sense to me. But I have gambled on people, unfortunately”.
“I want this to be a warning to other players,’ says Bellamy. “Check everything; make sure the people advising you are regulated. If they are not regulated, it’s the Wild West. Get your stuff audited by independent people, the equivalent of getting a second opinion. I was brought up in a generation of footballers where everything was done for you. Every bill. Wherever I was, the club did everything for me. I think that’s wrong”.
“It makes you too vulnerable. It’s good for players to have their own responsibilities because one day the club will not be there. You will finish your career and you will still be a young man and when you finish who’s going to pay your stuff then? You are going to have to learn to survive. You are going to have live in the real world”.
About Craig Bellamy
In 1998, Bellamy made his debut for Wales under the direction of Bobby Gould, and he continued to play for his country a total of 77 more times up until 2013. Mark Hughes, John Toshack, and Gary Speed were his three additional foreign managers at the time. He played for Cardiff City on two separate occasions, the first of which was in 2013, when he was the club’s inspiring captain as it made its debut in the Premier League under the direction of Malky Mackay.
Bellamy came within a hair’s breadth of being Chris Coleman’s successor as the manager of Wales. It came down to him and Giggs, with the six-person FAW committee responsible for evenly dividing the selection between the two players.
Ultimately, it came down to then-FAW President David Griffiths from Maesteg having a casting vote, and he chose Giggs as the winner. Several supporters of Cardiff FC still harbour hopes that Bellamy may one day manage the club.
Sam Allcock is the owner of PR Fire. Writes for Huffington Post, Hubspot and many more publications.