Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Missed Sir John's Tribute and Put Drinks and Cigars on Freddy's Bill Instead; Day Two of Our Exclusive Craig Bellamy Series, as Striker Recalls His Unwitting Snub to a Magpies Legend

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Missed Sir John's Tribute and Put Drinks and Cigars on Freddy's Bill Instead; Day Two of Our Exclusive Craig Bellamy Series, as Striker Recalls His Unwitting Snub to a Magpies Legend

Article excerpt

RANT had CRAIG BELLAMY was the leader of the party boys at Newcastle United.

They were mischievous, never nasty, but their poor time-keeping got them into hot water in November 2001 when the group were sent home in apparent disgrace from a winter break in Malaga.

Carl Cort, Andy Griffin, Kieron Dyer and Bellamy were told to turn up for a dinner, but they had no idea it was in honour of Sir John Hall, so they stayed out and, on their return to the hotel, the dinner was under way.

And as they didn't want to disrupt proceedings, there was only one thing to do, as Bellamy revealed in his brilliant autobiography, GoodFella.

"We went to the bar for a bit. While we were there, we ordered four vodka Red Bulls and a cigar each and put them on Freddy Shepherd's room bill.

"Then we went back to our rooms to get changed so we could meet up with the rest of the squad when they came out of their dinner.

"No one said anything except Speedo, who was honest, as usual. He said we should have turned up.

"He said it was a dinner in honour of Newcastle's former chairman, Sir John Hall, and that it wouldn't have cost us anything just to put in an appearance as we had been asked to do.

"It was the first time anybody had told me it was in honour of Sir John Hall but anyway, after that everyone went their separate ways.

"I woke up the next morning to a knock on my door. There was a guy from the club there with a sheet of paper that had an itinerary on it. He handed it to me.

"What's this?" I said. "You've been sent home," he said. I was astonished.

"What for?" I asked him.

"The taxi will be here to pick you up and take you to the airport," he said.

"That flight back from Malaga was not pleasant. We were all hungover, for a start. And the club hadn't booked us back to Newcastle. We had to get from Heathrow to King's Cross and then travel up on the train.

"I looked at one of the papers on the way up and saw a picture of me and a poorly child I had befriended. 'Everything I'm involved in now is news,' I thought.

"I knew there would be more to come the next day. …

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