An emotional Craig Bellamy has described Cardiff City's promotion to the Premier League as his greatest achievement in football and also revealed that his father, who is a lifelong fan of the club, told him that he "would die a happy man" after seeing the Welsh team return to the top flight for the first time in 51 years.
With his father and teenage son, Ellis, who is on Cardiff's books, watching from the stands, Bellamy admitted that he shed a tear after Tuesday night's goalless draw against Charlton Athletic secured automatic promotion with three games to spare. "Football wise, this is certainly the best [moment]," said Bellamy, who joined the club he had supported as a boy on a free transfer from Liverpool last summer.
"To have people I truly love around me, to share this with me, to see my dad afterwards and all the heartache he has been through watching Cardiff over the years. I have lost count how many games I used to go with him on a Tuesday night against some team, [with Dad] pulling me to the side, leaving 10 minutes before the end, and saying we would never go back."
"Then on the Saturday we would be there again. For him to see that [promotion party], and for his son to play a part in that, makes it even more special. It hit home to me a little bit as well. He said he will die a happy man."
With Cardiff joining Swansea in the Premier League – the first time Wales has had two top-flight clubs – Bellamy predicted there will be wider benefits for the capital city and the country as a whole. "The knock-on effect it can have on the national team, for young players coming through, this makes it so much more special as well," he said. "We've seen what it has done for Swansea, we have seen what it has done for the city and the money it has brought in as well. We are the capital city, we are Cardiff City. What it will do for us will be immense and the knock-on effect it will have for Welsh football will only be positive."
Bellamy hailed Malky Mackay's contribution as manager as "immense" and said that, combined with the backing of the club's Malaysian owner, Vincent Tan, Cardiff have the perfect platform to achieve further success. "Malky has really pushed us forward with his professionalism. Financially this club is going to grow and with him at the helm it will allow us to do it in the right manner. Hopefully there will be no limit to what he can succeed."
Asked about Cardiff's chances in the Premier League, Bellamy said: "It is going to be a completely different stage. Are we going to sign players? I don't know. I've got to look after myself as well, so I hope we don't sign too many players, especially on the left wing. I don't think we need players there! No, of course we do. We need strength in depth everywhere but that is between the manager and owner."