O'Neill fears Bellamy's stay may be short - Scottish - Football - The Independent

O'Neill fears Bellamy's stay may be short

Permanent move for Welsh international could depend on revenue from Champions' League, says Celtic manager

Martin O'Neill has said he will not be going for the job vacancy in Manchester that will come up for grabs at the end of the season, preferring, perhaps, to wait for another. But though he is almost certain to be at Celtic Park next season, Craig Bellamy is unlikely to be with him.

The Ulsterman bristled when pressed on speculation that he might be Kevin Keegan's long-term replacement at Manchester City, saying: "You are talking to the longest-serving manager in the SPL. Why would you ask me about this job at this stage of the season when you know we have some important games coming up?"

O'Neill then turned his attentions to Bellamy's future. The Welsh international, who turned down a £6m move to Birmingham, is on loan from Newcastle until the end of the season with a view to a permanent deal.

Celtic's chief executive Peter Lawwell, however, said recently that the club would not be able to afford the transfer fee unless they qualified for the Champions' League, and O'Neill fears that without the attendant funds they might be priced out of the race to sign the striker.

"In the particular climate we are involved in at this minute it would probably be unlikely we would be able to afford the fee for him, but things might change," O'Neill said. "If he does fantastically well and wants to stay and become a massive hit with the supporters then it would make it easier for us to go and try to look at ways of trying to keep him but I think that is all premature.

"Lots of things are based on whether we qualify for the Champions' League or not. If we win the League we have one qualifying game, if we are second we have two.

"Craig's contract with us is up in May and Newcastle have put a price on him and it is there for anyone to make a bid. My own view is that it is too early to call.

"Let's say he does fantastically well regardless of whether we play Champions' League or not. We could look at the situation to see if we would be in a position to do anything, and that might well depend on if we do make the Champions' League, and a lot of it will have to do with Craig himself.

"If everything was fantastically rosy I would look at it but we know the price and I would have to say, judging on what has happened over the last couple of years in terms of money spent on players, it would be highly unlikely we would be able to afford the money for Craig Bellamy."

One of the club's promising young players, Craig Beattie, says he has encouraged Bellamy to stay at Parkhead, and dismissed the notion that the Welshman has an attitude problem. Bellamy refused to shake Gary Caldwell's hand and was accused of bragging about his wages during a game at Clyde but the youngster wants him to stay, even though he is blocking his way into the first team.

"He is a different class and it is great to learn from him, big John [Hartson] and Sutty [Chris Sutton]," Beattie said. "His movement is different class - he takes the ball and takes players on, and he is great to have around the place. He has so much ability so it would be great to keep somebody of his calibre.

"You read all sorts of stuff but what you believe is up to yourself. He is a good craic and is genuine and no different to anybody else. He's a good laugh. I don't know what happened down south but if you are asking me then he is spot on."

South of the border, meanwhile, Liverpool could deny Everton a place in the Champions' League next season even if they finish below them in the Premiership.

In previous years, winners of Europe's blue riband club competition automatically defended the trophy the following season, but that is no longer the case. Rafael Benitez's side are eight points behind fourth-placed Everton, but are through to the Champions' League quarter-finals. Were they to win the trophy as well as finishing fifth in the Premiership, it would be left to the discretion of the Football Association whether or not they would be put forward to defend the trophy.

If the FA decided to do this and their request was accepted by Uefa, Europe's governing body, the side finishing fourth in the Premiership would drop down into the Uefa Cup. "One country cannot have more than four places - it would be up to the FA to make the request for Liverpool," a Uefa spokesman explained.

Champions' League regulations state: "At the request of the national association concerned, the Uefa Champions' League title-holders may be entered for this competition, if they have not qualified via the top domestic League championship.

"If, in such a case, the title-holders come from an association entitled to enter four teams for the Uefa Champions' League, the fourth-placed club in the top domestic League championship has to be entered for the Uefa Cup."

Life and Style
tech
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week