Blunted Bellamy is boo-boys victim
FORMER Hammer Craig Bellamy will not want to remember his return to Upton Park after he left goalless, injured and with the abuse of the West Ham fans still ringing in his ears. Predictably, Bellamy joined the ranks of Frank Lampard, Jermain Defoe and Pau
FORMER Hammer Craig Bellamy will not want to remember his return to Upton Park after he left goalless, injured and with the abuse of the West Ham fans still ringing in his ears.
Predictably, Bellamy joined the ranks of Frank Lampard, Jermain Defoe and Paul Ince into the hated hall of fame at the Boleyn Ground, but perhaps less predictably he didn't even manage a shot against his old team.
Having scored against former employees Newcastle, Liverpool and Blackburn already this season, he was looking to make it four out of four at Upton Park, but from the moment he was booed on to the field, it just never looked like happening.
Injury to Micah Richards forced him to play wide for much of the match and then injury struck in the second half, which forced him off just after the hour.
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West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola is a more forgiving man than the watching Hammers fans.
"He's a player who was always very good and helpful to me," said the West Ham boss, about a man who asked for a move to Manchester City during the transfer window.
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"He worked hard and gave everything for the team and for me. If he has success over there I will be very pleased, though obviously not against us."
Zola took time out to have a little chat with his former player.
"Yes, I had a chat with him on the pitch, I was trying to distract him!" joked Zola, who was determined to prevent Bellamy and the rest of the City team from hitting the Hammers net.
"I don't think it was something personal against him," smiled Zola. "We just didn't want any of their players to score.
"Today's performance is a wonderful example of team play and dedication and willingness to be together and win. We also know if we can play as a team it would be difficult for them to beat us."
Bellamy was also welcomed back by the West Ham players on Sunday, as Jack Collison testified to.
"I think all the boys welcomed Craig back because when he was playing for us he always gave his all," he said.
"He's a massive character and we wish him all the best at Manchester City, but luckily he was on the losing team today."
"I think the ref might have got a few words, but you expect that off Craig Bellamy - it's the way he plays."
You do expect a few words off Bellamy, but it was nowhere near as many as he got off the West Ham crowd, and it was them who had the last laugh.