Ex-Liverpool and Man City striker reveals Bristol City match which made him lose love for football

The 78-time Wales international recalls an unreal moment in a defeat in the Severnside Derby

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Ex-Wales striker Craig Bellamy has admitted that a match against Bristol City made him fall out of love for football.

Bellamy had a career mainly in the Premier League, featuring for the likes of giants Liverpool and Manchester City, as well as West Ham United and Newcastle United.

The former Welsh captain however had two spells as a player at City’s Severnside rivals Cardiff City, with the first being a loan spell in 2010.

It was a move that surprised everybody having been a key figure for the Citizens, whilst holding top-level pedigree, and was the start of what would see a number of high-profile players move to the Championship.

He went from playing Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, to facing the likes of Doncaster Rovers and Barnsley.

A drop down to the second tier also saw a drop in standards and it was at a match against Bristol City at Ashton Gate, which impacted how he viewed the game.

Speaking to the Central Club podcast, he said: “I remember one game we played Bristol City. I’m not sure we were drawing but we weren’t playing well, it was Bristol City and it was New Year’s Day.

“We’re about to go out and we’re about to lead the team out and one of the players refused to go out.

“What’s happening? He’s not coming out. I find out someone has hidden his phone because he was looking at the bets at half-time. Whatever bets he’s had or whatever.

“He was like until someone gives me my phone I’m not going back out.

“Imagine that? We lost anyway second-half.”

The match in question was the 3-0 win for Gary Johnson’s side on New Year’s Day in 2011, in what was a much-needed win at the time for the Robins.

City raced into a two-goal lead going into half-time after Brett Pitman opened the scoring in the third minute, scoring against Tom Heaton, who would later join the club. Lee Johnson, who would later go on to manage the club, scored City’s second after being supplied by Jonathan Stead.

Jamal Campbell-Ryce then secured the victory for the Robins early in the second-half in what was a much-needed win. Cardiff had been chasing promotion at the time and had a plethora of expensive stars whilst City were in a relegation battle.

As the match faltered out for Cardiff, Bellamy recalls a personal reflection of the moment at Ashton Gate. “I remember it was like ten minutes left of the game towards the end, I was like I’m done,” he said.

“This is not what I want to do anymore. I can’t have this. For me, my heart was just like it’s just been ripped out. Everything I love about the game and feel about the game. This is not the game.

“We should be worried about the game. We’ve just got beaten against Bristol City. It was a shock to me.”