Bellamy pays tribute to Hammers

Former West Ham United favourite Craig Bellamy has paid tribute to the Hammers on his retirement from the professional game.

Bellamy, 34, has called time on a long and distinguished career that included 73 International caps for Wales and spells at Norwich City, Coventry City, Newcastle United, Celtic, Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool, Manchester City, Cardiff City and, of course, West Ham.

Bellamy joined the Hammers in July 2007 for a then-record transfer fee, scoring his first two goals for the Club in a League Cup victory against Bristol Rovers the following month. He went on to make 26 appearances in all competitions, scoring nine goals before moving to Man City in January 2009.

An all-action, skilful and whole-hearted player was held in high regard by the Boleyn Ground faithful, with supporters sharing fond memories of his best moments on the Club's social media forums, including a 4-1 win at Portsmouth on Boxing Day 2008 when he bagged twice and a standout goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge earlier the same month.

The Cardiff-born forward only had kind words for West Ham and its fans when reflecting on his career.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Wales Online, Bellamy said: "I've been privileged to play at some truly top clubs, next to brilliant team-mates, excellent managers. People I'm honoured to be able to say were my colleagues.

"People know about Liverpool, Man City, Newcastle, Celtic, Cardiff, but don't forget West Ham. Only on going there did I realise just what a massive club they are. To Londoners, West Ham are very much THE club."

A fantastic attacking talent who gave everything he had on the pitch for club and country, everyone at West Ham United wishes Craig every success and happiness in his retirement.