Our former Norwegian left-back John Arne Riise has explained in detail the infamous night which has gone down in murky Liverpool folklore regarding his fight with Craig Bellamy.
Rafa Benitez’s squad were out in the Algrave in 2007, and cult-hero Riise claims drunkenness got the better of some – especially Welshman Bellamy – who repeatedly called him ‘Ginge’ and tried to taunt him into singing karaoke!
Various rumours about exactly what happened have circled the terraces ever since, but if Riise is to be believed – the fault mainly lies in Bellamy’s court!
“We were allowed to go out on a team dinner on the last night and I remember Rafa Benitez told us we could have one beer. Some had more than one…..,” Riise began, the Echo report.
“We had a private room in a karaoke bar. Bellamy kept saying: ‘Ginge is going up to sing’. I said: ‘No, I’m not singing. I can do a lot of things but singing is not one of them’.
“Bellamy wouldn’t leave it. I kept saying: ‘No, no, no’, but he kept on annoying me.
“When he grabbed the microphone and said again: ‘Ginge, is coming up to sing’, I went up to his face and told him clearly I wouldn’t be and to stop it.
“I left and went back to my room. I was rooming with Daniel Agger.
“When I heard the key in the door I thought it was Dan coming back but then the lights went on.
“Next thing I saw was a golf club smashing me on my backside.
“I jumped out of bed and was stood in my underwear while Bellamy was there shouting. He just said: ‘9am tomorrow Outside my room’. I got there for 8.45am and waited until 9.10am but there was no sign on him.
“At breakfast all the boys were laughing and when Bellamy walked in they were clapping. Of course I thought about reacting. But in the end I just left it.
“Why? I’m not a fighter. Also I was worried if I did react badly it could be the end of my Liverpool career.”
In fairness, Bellamy admitted in his autobiography that his behaviour on that evening was “pathetic,” and “stupidity of the highest level,” so we’re just glad Riise didn’t retaliate!
Back in 2013, Bellamy told the Daily Mail: “I wasn’t going to let it go, especially after a drink. I am one of the worst people on drink.
After a while, I told Steve Finnan we were going. I told him I wanted to sort it out with Ginge.
‘That ginger f****** p****, he ain’t speaking to me like that,’ I said…”
In many ways, the saga found the perfect conclusion at the Nou Camp, of course.
In February just a few months later, Bellamy scored the crucial goal in a 2-1 Champions League win versus Barcelona – confirming our passage through to the next round.
Liverpool got to the final that year, but couldn’t get past AC Milan for the second time in three years. (Those were the days, right?)
We wonder if Bellamy and Riise exchange Christmas cards?!