League Insider - Bellamy

Chris Burton takes a look at the talking points from the Football League in our new feature

Bellamy: Up and running

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Unless you decided to holiday on Mars this summer, you may have heard that Craig Bellamy has joined boyhood heroes Cardiff City on loan.

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You may also have noticed that he made his debut against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday and lashed home a thunderbolt of a free-kick to help the Bluebirds to a comprehensive 4-0 win.

All is rosy then in the Cardiff garden - they have pulled off one of the transfer coups of the summer, have celebrated seeing him score on his first outing for the club and have seen shirt sales go through the roof.

Dave Jones must have been praying pretty hard recently, as he appears to be the most fortunate manager in the business right now.

A few weeks ago Cardiff were staring down the barrel, working under a transfer embargo and facing the very real prospect that some of their top stars could be heading for the exits.

Fast forward and the club have been released from their shackles, acquired the services of a proven Premier League frontman and enjoyed an unbeaten start to the new Championship season that sees them sat second in the table.

Stories linking the likes of Jay Bothroyd and Peter Whittingham with moves have dried up, while Michael Chopra, a man who very publicly threatened to leave if things did not improve, has gone quiet all of a sudden.

It is remarkable what one piece of business can achieve, and the signing of Bellamy could go down as one of the most inspired deals of all time.

After all, if a player who has played for the likes of Newcastle, Liverpool, West Ham and Manchester City, and has UEFA Champions League experience in his locker, cannot help you win promotion, no-one can.

If you are also able to bring in that kind of pedigree for virtually no outlay, all the better.

The full details of Bellamy's return to his roots have not been revealed, but it is widely accepted that Manchester City, who were so desperate to get him off their books, are still paying the bulk of his sizeable salary.

Cardiff then have got the best of both worlds, an international striker who is costing them less than their reserve left-back.

Quite what their Championship rivals make of all this remains a mystery, as there will inevitably be a few envious glances shot in Cardiff's direction over the coming weeks.

Many will feel that a club who has sailed so close to the wind in the not so distant past, and who are yet to convince that their monetary problems are a thing of the past, should not be allowed to benefit so substantially from a market move.

There will, however, be those - Cardiff supporters mainly - who feel that the club has every right to do what they want and if that involves securing a high-profile signature, so be it.

The intriguing thing now will be how Bellamy fares over the remainder of the campaign.

With so much expected of him, can he carry Cardiff all the way to the Promised Land or will he stumble and fall?

The Bluebirds may have made a flying start to the season, but what happens if things turn sour? Will Bellamy still fancy a trip to Norwich in mid-January if Jones' men are languishing in mid-table?

The fiery frontman has previous when it comes to throwing his toys out the pram and he could turn into an unwelcome distraction if Cardiff hit the skids.

For now the saga has exceeded all expectations, but the colourful career of Mr Bellamy suggests there could be any number of twists and turns along the way and it remains to be seen how the football scriptwriters will choose to bring this Welsh soap opera to a close.

Boring Boro

Anyone unfortunate enough to have put themselves through the agony of watching Middlesbrough's home date with Sheffield United on Sunday must have been left wondering if they were watching pre-season title favourites or a Sunday League kickabout between two sets of players the worse for wear after a night on the sauce.

Boro, following a summer of promising transfer activity, were supposed to blaze a trail through the Championship this season, but if their latest showing is anything to go by they could struggle to hold down mid-table mediocrity.

Worryingly for the Teessiders, they also appear to be testing the patience of their followers, with Sunday's turnout of just 14,633 marking a new low for a league game at the Riverside Stadium.

It appears Gordon Strachan has a lot of work to do if he is to turn potential into something tangible and appease the restless North East natives.

Goal fest

There must have been something in the water this weekend, as football went goal crazy.

There were over 100 goals scored in Football League fixtures this weekend, with only two 0-0 draws played out across all three divisions.

The pick of the games in the Championship came at Ashton Gate, where Bristol City drew 3-3 with Barnsley, while Peterborough hammered Huddersfield 4-2 in League One.

It was, however, League Two that led the way when it came to crazy scorelines, with Crewe hammering Barnet 7-0 on home soil and Rotherham prevailing 6-4 in a thrilling encounter against Cheltenham.

More of the same, please, next week.