Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

There's Only One Boss, Mr Bellamy

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

There's Only One Boss, Mr Bellamy

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Craig Bellamy is not the first footballer to fall out with his manager and he will not be the last. But, as Paul Gilder reports, when player power is exercised, everyone loses.

When, in 1998, it was put to Dave Bassett that he should perhaps bury the hatchet with Pierre van Hooijdonk after the errant Dutchman had gone on strike at the City Ground, the then Nottingham Forest boss addressed the suggestion in his own inimitable style.

"If someone was to give me an olive branch, I would stick it up his arse," blasted Bassett, a manager unknown for his diplomacy, of a player who will forever more be remembered for the most public of disputes rather than for his footballing capabilities.

Given the unfortunate events which have unfolded during the past five days, Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy is presently running the same risk.

Disagreements between players and managers are as old as the game itself ( Len Shackleton's brief career at St James's Park almost 60 years ago was characterised by antagonism ( but rarely has the issue of player power seemed so prevalent as it does in the modern age.

Bellamy is not the first Newcastle player ( just as Graeme Souness is not the first Newcastle manager ( to find himself caught up in the midst of such controversy during a troubled season which has four months still to run.

That the matter, just like Kieron Dyer's August spat with Sir Bobby Robson, has been played out in public has helped no-one. But therein lies the problem.

Unlike in Shackleton's era, events off the pitch these days are of as much interest as those on it and it is high time those to blame for what appears to be a growing trend of airing their dirty linen in public realised that and accepted the additional responsibility which goes with being involved in football in the 21st Century.

Just like Robbie Savage's protracted switch from Birmingham to Blackburn, just like Wayne Routledge's contractual dispute at Crystal Palace and just like Dyer's refusal to play on the right wing at Middlesbrough on the opening day of this Premiership season, such episodes do no-one any favours. …

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