45 year-old Howard Webb was born in Rotherham and is one of the best Premier League referees ever and he plied his trade in England’s top league from 2003 until he retired just two years ago.
And from 1998 he was a referee in the Football league and in total in the final 14 years of his career he refereed a total of 534 games for what was a stellar career for the former Sergeant in the South Yorkshire Police.
He was a top International referee who refereed the World Cup final in South Africa between Spain and the Netherlands in 2010 which Spain won 1-0 after extra time with a goal from Andrés Iniesta.
Craig Bellamy with Howard Webb
When Craig was playing for Cardiff City circa 2013
He also refereed the Champions League Final that same year in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium between Inter-Milan and Bayern Munich which the Italian side won 2-0 with two goals from Diego Milito.
Howard was very good at controlling players on the field and keeping discipline, but in the Daily Mirror today he has admitted the one player who gave him most grief during his career was former Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy.
This is what Howard has said about the Welshman:
“I struggled to gain a rapport with Craig. Again, being balanced, he was a great footballer and might be a lovely kid away from the game.”
“But on the pitch he was always quick with an opinion and didn’t really want to listen to yours so much.”
“There were other players who you might think would have fallen into that category – people like Joey Barton and Robbie Savage.”
“They wore their heart on their sleeve, would give an opinion but actually would enter into a bit of dialogue with you and I found that to be quite healthy and I enjoyed refereeing those types of characters.”
Bellamy was quite a handful not only for referees, but also for managers and Sir Bobby Robson was the man who brought Craig to Newcastle back in 2001, when he was just 21 years old from Coventry City for £6.5M.
Craig went on to play for the Magpies until Graeme Souness had enough of his antics and shipped him off on loan to Celtic in January of 2005 and then in the summer he left Newcastle and signed for Blackburn Rovers and manager Mark Hughes.
Michael Owen was famously signed in August of 2005 for £17M from Real Madrid to replace Bellamy.
Craig played 114 games for Newcastle with 38 goals during Sir Bobby’s Robson’s last three seasons at the club when we were 4th, 3rd and 5th in successive seasons in the Premier League.