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Former Premier League star Craig Bellamy opens up about financial troubles and compares it to 'being on death row'

Former Premier League star Craig Bellamy opens up about financial troubles and compares it to 'being on death row'

The ex-Wales international has spoken candidly about his money woes.

Like “being on Death Row,” is how former Premier League star Craig Bellamy has described his experience of bankruptcy.

In a candid interview with the Mail, ex-Liverpool, West Ham, Newcastle, and Manchester City forward has opened up about his financial struggles and revealed how those he trusted most ultimately exploited him.

The former Wales international, who earned over 70 caps for his country, was no stranger to controversy across an 18 year career often blotted by injury. He was once labelled "disrespectful and unprofessional" by then Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini following a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham in 2010, and reportedly attacked John Arne Riise with a golf club while at Liverpool – a claim Bellamy himself insists was wildly fabricated.

However, the 43-year-old is also well-known for his philanthropy and immense generosity. He has set up a school in Sierra Leone, paid for the funerals of strangers in Cardiff, and even bankrolled the education of a child from a favela in Rio de Janeiro.

But since his retirement from playing in 2014, Bellamy has seen several of the investments made on his behalf, including properties in London, a building project in Cardiff, and wine bar and steakhouse in Penarth Marina, turn sour.

According to the Mail, he owes well over £1million in tax to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

Currently working as the assistant manager to former City teammate Vincent Kompany at Championship high-flyers Burnley, he told the newspaper:

"I have been living the last five or six years on Death Row, just waiting for someone to put me out.

"I have been waiting for the cell door to open and someone to say: 'Today’s the day'. It’s like the feeling of not being able to look forward to anything.

"All the money I’ve earned, I can’t get a mortgage. Financially, I have no future. The hurt of that. I can’t own anything. Everything’s gone.

Alamy

"My life has been on hold. I’m not a tax dodger but I have been very naive and the HMRC have been pursuing me for unpaid tax for some time.

"I know some people will probably think I have squandered all my money on drinking or gambling or drugs. I haven’t. I can go quiet where you won’t hear from me but I won’t be down the pub.

"I have never touched drugs since I was a young kid. I don’t gamble. I have never gambled. It doesn’t make any sense to me. But I have gambled on people unfortunately."

One such associate became the subject of a police investigation when concerns were raised about how Bellamy’s finances were being managed, as well as suspicions of forged signatures, and an incident involving a man impersonating him in a conversation relating to a loan.

Moreover, a collection of expensive watches which might have been considered assets are understood to be in the possession of a jeweller whose business went into liquidation in 2020 and who has since entered into a police witness protection scheme and therefore cannot be contacted.

So severe are his financial woes, in fact, that Bellamy admitted that being officially declared bankrupt came as something of a relief while also emphasising how his experiences should serve as a cautionary tale to other footballers.

"Everything I have had has been taken from me,” he said.

“If you get the wrong people advising you, it all haemorrhages, it all dwindles. It has got to the point where bankruptcy is a relief. It means I can just live again."

"I want this to be a warning to other players. Check everything, make sure the people advising you are regulated. If they are not regulated, it’s the Wild West."

Despite his troubles, Bellamy also acknowledged the privileged position he now finds himself at Burnley, who currently sit 11 points clear at the summit of the Championship table and look favourites to return to England's top flight in Kompany's first season in charge.

“I know how lucky I am to be at Burnley, to be doing something I love and something I’m good at. And now we are top of the league and I love what I do. And now, after everything, something amazing is happening.”

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Premier League, England, Football