On a weekend of football when a record number of goals were scored in the Premier League, when Newcastle astonished everyone by coming back from 4-0 down against Arsenal and when over in Spain Cristiano Ronaldo was scoring his 24th goal of the season for Real Madrid The ‘Performance Of The Week’ does not go to any of these outstanding highlights.
This week I have decided to award the ‘Performance Of The Week’ to a Championship player who decided a fierce local derby in the 85th minute, playing away from home with a superb curling effort from 25 yards. Congratulations Craig Bellamy!
Love him or hate him this weekend the stage was set for Cardiff’s favourite son to do what he does best. Delight his own fans while irritating the ones who love to hate him
Having faced the typical crowd abuse and unwelcoming atmosphere that a Swansea vs. Cardiff game always produces he collected the ball from a one-two with Aaron Ramsey and curled home the winning goal 5 minutes from the end giving Cardiff all 3 points and their first win in Swansea since 1997. It also had the added impact of moving Cardiff up to 3rd in the table ironically leapfrogging Swansea in the process.
So why did I decide this was more worthy than some of the standout performances from other leagues? It was the local derby. It was away from home. It was a game which looked destined to finish a draw. It was a cracking goal.
But most importantly it was a player who had kept his cool throughout and not been booked, despite most people expecting him to struggle in the atmosphere, and it was another step towards him achieving the ultimate goal of helping his beloved hometown club reach the promised land of the Premier League.
Having started his career at Norwich in 1996 Bellamy soon rose to prominence at Newcastle in 2001 via Coventry city. Never enjoying a happy relationship with any of his clubs (apart from that early start at Norwich) he frustrated, amazed and annoyed his way through spells at Celtic, Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool, West Ham United and Manchester City before his current loan spell at Cardiff City.
He’s a player whose talent demands to be shown at the highest level but also a temperament that doesn’t always fit at the top table. He should have medals and trophies to rival the best players but so far they have eluded him.
With age and injuries catching him up I get the feeling Promotion to the Premier League with Cardiff will be his defining moment and one he can certainly be proud of.
This weekend he certainly made a Cardiff City fans proud. Congratulations Craig Bellamy. You are the ‘Performance Of The Week’ winner!