Craig Bellamy, striker for English Premier League football side Liverpool, is said to be a person who crystallises opinion. In a League where larger than life is a way of life, everybody either loves our hates the diminutive, fiery former goal-scorer for Blackburn. And just to prove my afore-mentioned maxim: after Bellamy’s latest on-field exploits, I think I could become a fan.
Bellamy has been in the news in recently for allegedly striking fellow team-mate John Arne Riise with a golf club during a training camp in Portugal—perhaps confusing the six-foot red-headed Norwegian for a golf ball. Whatever the truth to the incident (did he shout“fore” first?), I very much admired his gesture in this morning’s encounter with Barcelona; after scoring a dramatic, score-tying goal, he turned to the crowd and proceeded to tee-off, striking an imaginary golf-ball to the back of the stand.
To do so showed a considerable sense of humour, and no small sense of self-deprecation. One seldom sees celebrities in his position—deservedly or not—deliberately making fun of themselves, and I expect Bellamy disarmed a legion of critics with this single, comic gesture
I have some sympathy for the situation famous athletes find themselves in. Not for their astronomical salaries mind you, but their non-existent private lives, the smallest incident seized upon and“beat-up” out of all proportion; they are watched ceaselessly by an army of journalists whose livelihoods depends upon such, whatever the truth.
He may have done what he is said to have done, or he may not have; either way it was more than likely a private falling-out between friends, and if they are friends again once more—they both took the field together this morning so it seems likely—what exactly else matters?
Because at the end of the day, whose business was it apart from theirs?