Tuesday, 26 August 2008

If not Santa Cruz then Bellamy?

With little forewarning, serious reports emerged Tuesday morning that City were in talks with Craig Bellamy. I don't know where these came from: they were very widely reported, but featured no quotes or obvious source. This was a big story in The Independent one month ago, but has not been featured since.

Situations like this are difficult. I'm not a big fan of Bellamy, for both footballing and non-footballing reasons. I've never thought him to be much more than a Welsh Andy Johnson, a centre forward of express pace but average quality, who had one good season but has not been able to reproduce it consistently. His off the field concerns are well documented and require little comment.

However, I'm quite reticent about second guessing Hughes on this. Hughes was Bellamy's manager for the most successful period of his career, having previously managed him at international level. He probably knows more about Craig Bellamy than any other manager in football. As a City fan, my knowledge of Bellamy is pretty much limited to seeing him on Match of the Day. Moreover, Hughes' judgement is expert. Not only was he an extremely successful centre forward as a player, but he is now a successful manager who is paid to, amongst other things, bring in the best available players. His record on signing strikers is good: he bought Santa Cruz (19 in 36) for £3.5m, Benni McCarthy (18 in 36 then, admittedly, 8 in 23) for £2.5m, and Bellamy himself (13 in 27) for £5m. (Statistics only Premier League).

The point I'm trying to make is this: if Hughes thinks Bellamy is right for City, he knows what he's talking about. It's very easy to go on ManCityFans or Bluemoon and voice one's displeasure, but this is certainly an area where thousands of City fans can be wrong. There are men I'd rather see in the shirt than Bellamy, but if the manager really thinks he's worth it, I think he ought to be taken for his word.

No comments: