Liverpool icon John Arne Riise gives insights on the infamous ‘golf club incident’ with Craig Bellamy
Just before Liverpool faced off against Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the Champions League round of 16 in 2007, John Arne Riise and Craig Bellamy squared off against each other during the infamous golf club incident after an argument.
Speaking on the FILTHYFELLAS, the Norwegian spoke about what happened. While on a night out in Spain with the squad, Bellamy pestered Riise to sing in a karaoke bar. Annoyed by it, the Norwegian went up to the Welshman in anger and threatened to “smash” him.
Riise went back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. But what was about to happen was something unprecedented. The Norwegian shacked up with Daniel Agger at the hotel, who wasn’t back yet. While the full-back was asleep, he was suddenly woken up.
“I could hear some keys in the door and thought it might be Agger coming home. But the lights came on. I turned around and there’s Bellamy with a golf club in his hand.”
Bellamy barged into Riise’s room with a golf club, “not sober”, and was unhappy with the way the Norwegian spoke to him in front of the squad. The Welsman then took a swing at the full-back’s shins but missed.
Bellamy wasn’t in the right state of mind and wasn’t bothered about the consequences. He took more swings as Riise blocked a couple with his shin. The Norwegian tried to calm the situation down. The full-back was worried about the consequences of a potential fight on his Liverpool career.
Riise managed to pacify the mood and asked Bellamy to meet him in the morning. Agger came back and was angry about the situation. Benitez and the club doctors also checked up on the Norwegian.
“In the morning after, I walked to his room 9 o’clock with Daniel Agger, knocked on his door, he wasn’t there. Then I go to breakfast. He came in five minutes after, didn’t even look at me.
“Then I had a meeting with Benitez and him. Case closed because we’ve got a game in two or three days. He scored the first goal, I scored the winner that he assisted and we beat Barcelona 2-1 at Camp Nou.”
Bellamy equalised against the Catalans in Spain on the night and followed it up with a golf club swing. The Welshman then put it on a plate later in the game for Riise to score.
Bellamy was subsequently sold by the club after that one season. Riise, on the other hand, had a fruitful career in Merseyside between 2001 and 2008.
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While characters in the dressing room are important to have, there’s a difference between aggression and assault. What Bellamy did was rightfully reprimanded by the club and manager.
We also have characters currently under Jurgen Klopp, but none of them have ever done something as reckless. The Liverpool side is strong and aggressive on the pitch, with characters like Jordan Henderson screaming and shouting. But it has never gone beyond that on or off the field.