Craig Bellamy gives full story about golf club incident with John Arne Riise in 2007


It will always be remembered as one of football’s most infamous bust-ups - even though we never actually saw it happen.

Craig Bellamy attacked Liverpool teammate John Arne Riise with a golf club ahead of a Champions League last-16 clash against Barcelona in 2007.

The incident happened while the Reds were in Portugal for some warm-weather training ahead of their European tie at Camp Nou. Bellamy was subsequently fined £80,000 by Liverpool but avoided being sacked. He also celebrated scoring against Barça with his now-infamous golf swing celebration.

Riise gave his version of events a couple of years ago, describing in his autobiography how the Welsh forward flipped out because he refused to sing during a karaoke session.

He was woken up by the sight of Bellamy in his room holding a golf club.

"Bellamy raised the club over his head and swung as hard as he could," Riise alleged in 2018, per the Mirror. "He tried to hit my shins, which would have ended my career, but I managed to pull my leg away in time."

But was Bellamy really that incensed because Riise wouldn’t get on stage and sing?

Liverpool's John Arne Riise (L) and Crai...

Well, he’s now told his side of the story on the latest episode of Jamie Carragher's new 'The Greatest Game' podcast - and it turns out there was a bit more to it than we knew.

“I try to forget about it, it’s just embarrassing,” Bellamy, now a coach alongside his former Manchester City teammate Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht, is quoted as telling Carragher by the Express.

“From my own behaviour it was just stupid. It was a moment. Me and Robbie [Fowler] played golf with him that day.

“And I think Finny [Steve Finnan] was playing with us as well. I didn’t really play golf that much back then but I do now.

“So we’re playing and, you know you hit the ball in the woods… I saw it once drop in the pond and he’s (Riise) on the other side of the pond saying: ‘I’ve got it!’

Liverpool's Norwegian player John Arne R

“And I’m looking at Robbie like: ‘There’s no way he’s found that ball.’ What gave it away was I went into the woods to help him find his ball and it was on a tee!

“I just knew he was cheating. All day he just wound me up. So we have drinks in the night and we broke the curfew and it went into karaoke.

“[Javier] Mascherano had signed so one or two new players had to sing a song.

“Riise had missed the Christmas do because he said he had to go back to Norway - we checked and there were no flights back to Norway that day.

“And then he admitted lying so part of his [punishment] was he had to sing a Christmas song.

“So imagine me... I’d had to play golf with him all day and I could see him fretting about singing, he didn’t want to sing.

UEFA Champions League: Barcelona v Liverpool

“But having put up with him all day there was no way I was letting him off with this.

“He gets up and goes: ‘I’m not singing a song and you can stop going on about it.’

“But when you’re drunk, what was said is times 10; he threatened me! Sami Hyypia said ‘let it go’ but it just ate away at me as the hours went on.”

So, there you have it. Cheating at golf, lying about flying part to Norway to get out of attending Liverpool’s Christmas party… all this contributed towards Bellamy losing his temper.

The full-back’s refusal to sing at karaoke as part of his ‘punishment’ was the final straw for the Wales international.

While it obviously doesn’t excuse Bellamy’s behaviour, at all, it does finally go some way to explaining why he lost his temper so badly that night.

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