Reading is a large, historically important town in Berkshire, England, of which it is the county town. The 19th century saw the coming of the Great Western Railway, Today Reading is a major commercial centre, with involvement in information technology and insurance, and, despite its proximity to London, has a net inward commuter flow. The first evidence for Reading as a settlement dates from the 8th century, by 1525, Reading was the largest town in Berkshire, and tax returns show that Reading was the 10th largest town in England when measured by taxable wealth. By 1611, it had a population of over 5000 and had grown rich on its trade in cloth, the 18th century saw the beginning of a major iron works in the town and the growth of the brewing trade for which Reading was to become famous. During the 19th century, the town rapidly as a manufacturing centre. It is ranked the UKs top economic area for economic success and wellbeing, according to such as employment, health, income. Reading is also a regional retail centre serving a large area of the Thames Valley. Every year it hosts the Reading Festival, one of Englands biggest music festivals, sporting teams based in Reading include Reading Football Club and the London Irish rugby union team, and over 15,000 runners annually compete in the Reading Half Marathon. In 2015, Reading had an population of 232,662. The town is represented in Parliament by two members, and has been continuously represented there since 1295, for ceremonial purposes the town is in the county of Berkshire and has served as its county town since 1867, previously sharing this status with Abingdon-on-Thames. It is in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, and on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway. Reading is 75 miles east of Bristol,25 miles south of Oxford,42 miles west of London,17 miles north of Basingstoke,13 miles south-west of Maidenhead and 20 miles east of Newbury. Reading may date back to the Roman occupation of Britain, possibly as a port for Calleva Atrebatum. However the first clear evidence for Reading as a settlement dates from the 8th century, the name probably comes from the Readingas, an Anglo-Saxon tribe whose name means Readas People in Old English, or less probably the Celtic Rhydd-Inge, meaning Ford over the River. In late 870, an army of Danes invaded the kingdom of Wessex, on 4 January 871, in the first Battle of Reading, King Ethelred and his brother Alfred the Great attempted unsuccessfully to breach the Danes defences. The battle is described in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and that account provides the earliest known record of the existence of Reading. The Danes remained in Reading until late in 871, when they retreated to their quarters in London. After the Battle of Hastings and the Norman conquest of England, William the Conqueror gave land in, in its 1086 Domesday Book listing, the town was explicitly described as a borough
Reading Football Club is a professional association football club based in Reading, Berkshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of English football. The club played at Elm Park for 102 years between 1896 and 1998, in 1998 the club moved to the new Madejski Stadium, which is named after the clubs co-chairman Sir John Madejski. Reading then finished eighth in the 2006–07 Premier League, their first ever season as a top flight club, Reading were formed on 25 December 1871, following a public meeting at the Bridge Street Rooms organised by the future club secretary Joseph Edward Sydenham. The early matches were played at Reading Recreation Ground, and later the club held fixtures at Reading Cricket Ground, Coley Park and Caversham Cricket Ground. The switch to professionalism in 1895 resulted in the need for a ground and, to this end. In 1913, Reading had a tour of Italy, prompting the leading sports newspaper Corriere della Sera to write without doubt. Reading were elected to the Football League Third Division South of the Football League in 1920, Reading lost their place in Division Two in May 1931, and remained in Third Division South until the outbreak of World War II. When League football resumed after the war, Reading quickly came to prominence once again, the sides moment of cup glory came in 1988 when they won the Simod Cup, beating a number of top flight sides en route to their Wembley win over Luton Town. Reading were promoted to the Second Division as champions in 1986 under the management of Ian Branfoot, the appointment of Mark McGhee as player-manager, shortly after the takeover by John Madejski, in 1991 saw Reading move forward. They were crowned champions of the new Division Two in 1994, in 1995, Reading had eased past Tranmere Rovers in the play-off semi-finals and looked to have booked their place in the Premier League only to lose against Bolton Wanderers in the final. Quinn and Goodings contracts were not renewed two years later after Reading had slid into the half of Division One. Their successor, Terry Bullivant, lasted less than one season before being sacked in March 1998, the year 1998 also saw Reading move into the new 24,200 all-seater Madejski Stadium, named after Chairman John Madejski. Tommy Burns had taken over from Terry Bullivant but lasted just 18 months before being replaced by Alan Pardew, the club finished third in 2000–01 qualifying for the play-offs, losing 2–3 in the final against Walsall at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Reading returned to Division One for 2002–03 after finishing runners-up in Division Two, the following season, they finished fourth in Division One and qualified for the play-offs, where they lost in the semi-final to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Alan Pardew moved to West Ham United the following October and was replaced by Steve Coppell, Reading won the 2005–06 Championship with a league record 106 points, scoring 99 goals and losing only twice. Reading were promoted to English footballs top division for the first time in their history, the 2006–07 season saw Reading make their first appearance in the top flight of English football. Reading defied pre-season predictions of relegation to finish the season in place with 55 points
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies making it the worlds most popular sport, the game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by getting the ball into the opposing goal, players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms while it is in play, unless they are goalkeepers. Other players mainly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, the team that scores the most goals by the end of the match wins. If the score is level at the end of the game, the Laws of the Game were originally codified in England by The Football Association in 1863. Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football, the first written reference to the inflated ball used in the game was in the mid-14th century, Þe heued fro þe body went, Als it were a foteballe. The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the word soccer was split off in 1863, according to Partha Mazumdar, the term soccer originated in England, first appearing in the 1880s as an Oxford -er abbreviation of the word association. Within the English-speaking world, association football is now usually called football in the United Kingdom and mainly soccer in Canada and the United States. People in Australia, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand use either or both terms, although national associations in Australia and New Zealand now primarily use football for the formal name. According to FIFA, the Chinese competitive game cuju is the earliest form of football for which there is scientific evidence, cuju players could use any part of the body apart from hands and the intent was kicking a ball through an opening into a net. It was remarkably similar to football, though similarities to rugby occurred. During the Han Dynasty, cuju games were standardised and rules were established, phaininda and episkyros were Greek ball games. An image of an episkyros player depicted in low relief on a vase at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens appears on the UEFA European Championship Cup, athenaeus, writing in 228 AD, referenced the Roman ball game harpastum. Phaininda, episkyros and harpastum were played involving hands and violence and they all appear to have resembled rugby football, wrestling and volleyball more than what is recognizable as modern football. As with pre-codified mob football, the antecedent of all football codes. Non-competitive games included kemari in Japan, chuk-guk in Korea and woggabaliri in Australia, Association football in itself does not have a classical history. Notwithstanding any similarities to other games played around the world FIFA have recognised that no historical connection exists with any game played in antiquity outside Europe. The modern rules of football are based on the mid-19th century efforts to standardise the widely varying forms of football played in the public schools of England
The Madejski Stadium /məˈdeɪski/ is a football stadium located in Reading, Berkshire, England. It is the home of Reading Football Club playing in the Football League Championship and it also provides the finish for the Reading Half Marathon. The stadium is named after Readings chairman Sir John Madejski and it is an all-seater bowl stadium with a capacity of 24,161 and is located close to the M4 motorway. It is built on the site of a household waste dump and is surrounded by methane vents. The West Stand contains the Millennium Madejski Hotel, the stadium was opened on 22 August 1998 and replaced Elm Park as Readings home ground. In 1994, the Taylor Report made all-seater stadiums compulsory in the top two divisions, Reading were champions of the Second Division in 1994, and were promoted to the first division. Reading became subject to the Taylor requirements, converting Elm Park to an all-seater stadium was not practical, so a location in Smallmead was identified as the site for a new stadium. The location of a landfill, the site was purchased for £1. The last competitive match at Elm Park took place on 3 May 1998 against Norwich City, Reading began the 1998–99 season at the Madejski Stadium. It was opened on 22 August 1998 when Luton Town were beaten 3–0 with Grant Brebner having the honour of scoring the first ever goal at the stadium. Following the death of academy manager Eamonn Dolan in 2016, Reading announced that the North Stand would now be renamed The Eamonn Dolan Stand. The stadium cost more than £50m to build and the pitch incorporates a system of synthetic fibres interwoven with natural grass, the Eamonn Dolan Stand capacity is said to be 4,946 including 25 spaces for wheelchairs. Although in use for all Reading matches, the stand is normally closed for London Irish, the South Stand has a capacity of 4,350 including 29 wheelchair spaces and is where visiting supporters sit for Reading games. The initial allocation visiting teams receive is 2,327 and is the half of the stand joining onto the East Stand, under the terms of the original lease, London Irish only utilised the South Stand for the most popular matches. However, with the original renegotiation and extension of the lease, London Irish sold season tickets for South Stand between 2008 and 2014-15. Since 2014, with falling attendance at London Irish, the South stands remained closed for rugby, the East Stand has a capacity of 7,286 including 18 spaces for wheelchairs. The stand also contains the video screen which is located in the corner adjoining the South Stand. The stand was open for all London Irish fixtures only until the end of the 2015-16 season, the West Stand, the stadiums main stand, has a capacity of 7,579 including 15 wheelchair spaces and contains a lower and an upper tier
A gravel pit is an open-pit mine for the extraction of gravel. Gravel pits often lie in valleys where the water table is high. Old, abandoned gravel pits are used either as nature reserves, or as amenity areas for water sports, landfills. In addition, many pits in the United Kingdom have been stocked with freshwater fish such as the common carp to create coarse fishing locations. Gravel and sand are mined for concrete, construction aggregate and other industrial mineral uses
Reading railway station
Reading railway station is a major transport hub in Reading, England. On the northern edge of the centre, near the main retail and commercial areas. Reading is the ninth-busiest station in the UK outside London, Reading is one of 19 stations managed by Network Rail. The station is served by three train operating companies, Great Western Railway, CrossCountry and South West Trains, the first Reading station was opened on 30 March 1840 as the temporary western terminus of the original line of the Great Western Railway. The time taken to travel from London to Reading was reduced to one hour and five minutes, the line was extended to its intended terminus at Bristol in 1841. In 1844, the Great Western Hotel, was opened across the Forbury Road for people visiting the town and it is thought to be the oldest surviving railway hotel in the world. New routes soon joined the London to Bristol line, with the line from Reading to Newbury and Hungerford opening in 1847, in 1860, a new station building, in Bath Stone and incorporating a tower and clock, was constructed for the Great Western Railway. In 1898 the single sided station was replaced by a design with up, down. Access to the station from Broad Street was not direct, until Queen Victoria Street was built in 1903 and this provided a route through to Friar Street and Station Road. The station was originally named Reading and became Reading General on 26 September 1949 to distinguish it from the ex-South Eastern Railway station nearby, the General suffix was dropped from British Rail timetables in 1973, but some of the station nameboards still stated Reading General in 1974. From 6 September 1965, services from the former Reading Southern station were diverted into a newly constructed terminal platform in the General station. At the same time a new station car park was built on the site of the former goods yard and signal works to the north of the station. The station facilities in the 1860 station building were converted into The Three Guineas public house, the Queen reopened the station on 4 April 1989. By 2007, the station had become a bottleneck on the railway network. This was caused by limited number of through-platforms, the flat junctions immediately east and west of the station, the Great Western Main Line at Reading has two pairs of tracks – the main lines on the southern side and the relief lines on the northern side. Passenger and freight trains transferring between the Reading to Taunton Line and Reading to Basingstoke Line and the lines had to cross the Main lines. On 10 September 2008 Network Rail unveiled a £400 million regeneration and reconfiguration of the station, the plans included an underpass to allow freight and passenger trains to transit from the to the Relief lines without blocking the Main lines. This was planned to alleviate current delays, due to slow moving freight trains passing through the station
Great Western Railway
The Great Western Railway was a British railway company that linked London with the south-west and west of England, the Midlands, and most of Wales. It was founded in 1833, received its enabling Act of Parliament on 31 August 1835, Goods wagons were painted red but this was later changed to mid-grey. Great Western trains included long-distance express services such as the Flying Dutchman, the Cornish Riviera Express and it also operated many suburban and rural services, some operated by steam railmotors or autotrains. The company pioneered the use of larger, more economic goods wagons than were usual in Britain and it operated a network of road motor routes, was a part of the Railway Air Services, and owned ships, docks and hotels. The Great Western Railway originated from the desire of Bristol merchants to maintain their city as the port of the country. The company was founded at a meeting in Bristol in 1833 and was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1835. Isambard Kingdom Brunel, then aged twenty-nine, was appointed engineer and this was by far Brunels largest contract to date. Firstly, he chose to use a gauge of 7 ft to allow for the possibility of large wheels outside the bodies of the rolling stock which could give smoother running at high speeds. Secondly, he selected a route, north of the Marlborough Downs and this meant the line was not direct from to London to Bristol. From Reading heading west, the line would curve in a northerly sweep back to Bath, the first 22.5 miles of line, from Paddington station in London to Maidenhead Bridge station, opened on 4 June 1838. When Maidenhead Railway Bridge was ready the line was extended to Twyford on 1 July 1839, the cutting was the scene of a railway disaster two years later when a goods train ran into a landslip, ten passengers who were travelling in open trucks were killed. This accident prompted Parliament to pass the 1844 Railway Regulation Act requiring railway companies to provide carriages for passengers. The next section, from Reading to Steventon crossed the Thames twice, a 7. 25-mile extension took the line to Faringdon Road on 20 July 1840. Meanwhile, work had started at the Bristol end of the line, on 17 December 1840, the line from London reached a temporary terminus at Wootton Bassett Road west of Swindon and 80.25 miles from Paddington. The section from Wootton Bassett Road to Chippenham was opened on 31 May 1841, as was Swindon Junction station where the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway to Cirencester connected. That was an independent line worked by the GWR, as was the Bristol and Exeter Railway, in 1851, the GWR purchased the Kennet and Avon Canal, which was a competing carrier between London, Reading, Bath and Bristol. The GWR was closely involved with the C&GWUR and the B&ER, the South Wales Railway had opened between Chepstow and Swansea in 1850 and became connected to the GWR by Brunels Chepstow Bridge in 1852. It was completed to Neyland in 1856, where a port was established
Oxford United F.C.
Oxford United Football Club is a professional football club based in the city of Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. The team play in League One, the tier of English football. The chairman is Darryl Eales, the coach is Michael Appleton. Founded in 1893 as Headington United, Oxford United adopted its current name in 1960 and it joined the Football League in 1962 after winning the Southern Football League, reaching the Second Division in 1968. After relegation in 1976, between 1984 and 1986 the club earned successive promotions into the First Division, and won the League Cup in 1986, however, Oxford was unable thereby to enter the 1987 UEFA Cup because of the UEFA ban on English clubs in European competitions. Relegation from the top flight in 1988 began an 18-year decline which saw the club relegated to the Conference in 2006 and this was the first time in the history of English football when a team that had won a major trophy was relegated from the Football League. After four seasons, Oxford was promoted to League Two in 2010 via the playoffs, in total, nineteen players have made international appearances while playing for the club. Uniteds home ground is the Kassam Stadium in Oxford and has a capacity of 12,500, United moved to the stadium in 2001 after leaving the Manor Ground, their home for 76 years. Swindon Town is the main rival. Oxford United were formed as Headington in 1893, adding the suffix United in 1911 after merging with Headington Quarry, the club was founded by Rev. John Scott-Tucker, the vicar at Saint Andrews Church in Headington, and a local doctor named Robert Hitchings. A football team was a way for the cricketers of Headington Cricket Club to maintain their fitness during the winter break, the first football match played was against Cowley Barracks. Headington had no home until 1913, when they were able to purchase Woottens Field on London Road. A permanent home was found in 1925, when they purchased the Manor Ground site on London Road, the facility was used as a cricket pitch in the summer, and a football pitch in the winter. In 1921 the club was admitted into the Oxon Senior League, the first season included a 9–0 victory, with eight of those goals coming from P. Drewitt. This remains a record for the highest number of goals scored by an Oxford player in a first-team match, at this time a small rivalry existed with Cowley F. C. who were based a few miles south of Headington. During a league game on May Day, the referee gave two penalties to Cowley, supporters broke past security and players, resulting in the referee being freely baited. The first FA Cup tie played was in 1931, against Hounslow F. C. in the Preliminary Round, United spent two seasons in the Spartan League in 1947 and 1948, finishing fifth and fourth respectively. It was around this time that the team left the Manor
Norwich City F.C.
Norwich City Football Club is an English professional football club based in Norwich, Norfolk. The club currently plays in the Championship, the tier of English football. They were first promoted to the top flight in 1972, Norwich have won the League Cup twice, in 1962 and 1985. The club has never won the top flight, but finished third in 1993, the club was founded in 1902. The fans song On the Ball, City is regarded as being the oldest football song in the world which is still in use, the club plays in characteristic yellow and green kits and are nicknamed The Canaries after the history of breeding the birds in the area. They joined the Norfolk & Suffolk League for the 1902–03 season, but following a FA Commission, the club was ousted from the amateur game in 1905, deemed a professional organisation. Later that year Norwich were elected to play in the Southern League and with increasing crowds, they were forced to leave Newmarket Road in 1908, moving to The Nest, a disused chalk pit. During the First World War, with football suspended and facing spiralling debts, the club was officially reformed on 15 February 1919 – a key figure in the events was Charles Frederick Watling, future Lord Mayor of Norwich and the father of future club chairman, Geoffrey Watling. When, in May 1920, the Football League formed a third Division and their first league fixture, against Plymouth Argyle, on 28 August 1920, ended in a 1–1 draw. The club went on to endure a mediocre decade, finishing no higher than eighth, the inaugural match, held on 31 August 1935, against West Ham United, ended in a 4–3 victory to the home team and set a new record attendance of 29,779. The biggest highlight of the four seasons was the visit of King George VI to Carrow Road on 29 October 1938. However, the club was relegated to the Third Division at the end of the season, the league was suspended the following season as a result of the outbreak of the Second World War and did not resume until the 1946–47 season. City finished this and the season in 21st place, the poor results forcing the club to apply for re-election to the league. The 1958–59 season saw Norwich reach the semi-final of the FA Cup as a Third Division side, in the 1959–60 season, Norwich were promoted to the Second Division after finishing second to Southampton, and achieved a fourth-place finish in the 1960–61 season. In 1962 Ron Ashman guided Norwich to their first trophy, defeating Rochdale 4–0 on aggregate in a final to win the League Cup. They made their first appearance at Wembley Stadium in 1973, losing the League Cup final 1–0 to Tottenham Hotspur. Relegation to the Second Division in 1974 came after Saunders had departed and been succeeded by John Bond, a highly successful first season saw promotion back to the First Division and another visit to Wembley, again in the League Cup final, this time losing 1–0 to Aston Villa. Bond departed to Manchester City in the autumn of 1980 and the club were relegated six months later, Norwich had also been the beneficiaries of one of English footballs first million-pound transfers when they sold striker Justin Fashanu to Nottingham Forest in August 1981
The Premier League is an English professional league for mens association football clubs. At the top of the English football league system, it is the primary football competition. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League, Welsh clubs that compete in the English football league system can also qualify. The Premier League is a corporation in which the 20 member clubs act as shareholders, seasons run from August to May. Teams play 38 matches each, totalling 380 matches in the season, most games are played on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, others during weekday evenings. It is colloquially known as the Premiership and outside the UK it is referred to as the English Premier League. The deal was worth £1 billion a year domestically as of 2013–14, with BSkyB, the league generates €2.2 billion per year in domestic and international television rights. In 2014/15, teams were apportioned revenues of £1.6 billion, the Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes and a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people. In the 2014–15 season, the average Premier League match attendance exceeded 36,000, most stadium occupancies are near capacity. The Premier League ranks third in the UEFA coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the past five seasons. While 47 clubs have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, only six have won the title, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, the current champions are Leicester City, who won the title in 2015–16. Despite significant European success in the 1970s and early 1980s, the late 80s marked a low point for English football, the 1988 negotiations were the first signs of a breakaway league, ten clubs threatened to leave and form a super league, but were eventually persuaded to stay. As stadiums improved and match attendance and revenues rose, the top teams again considered leaving the Football League in order to capitalise on the influx of money into the sport. At the close of the 1991 season, a proposal was tabled for the establishment of a new league that would bring money into the game overall. The Founder Members Agreement, signed on 17 July 1991 by the games top-flight clubs, the argument given at the time was that the extra income would allow English clubs to compete with teams across Europe. The managing director of London Weekend Television, Greg Dyke, met with the representatives of the big five clubs in England in 1990. The meeting was to pave the way for an away from The Football League. The FA did not enjoy a relationship with the Football League at the time
Rugby union, known in some parts of the world simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using a ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts on each try line. Historically an amateur sport, in 1995 restrictions on payments to players were removed, World Rugby, originally the International Rugby Football Board and from 1998 to 2014 the International Rugby Board, has been the governing body for rugby union since 1886. Rugby union spread from the Home Nations of Great Britain and Ireland, early exponents of the sport included Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and France. Countries that have adopted rugby union as their de facto national sport include Fiji, Georgia, Madagascar, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Rugby union is played in over 100 countries across six continents, there are 101 full members and 18 associate members of World Rugby. The Rugby World Cup, first held in 1987, takes place four years with the winner of the tournament receiving the Webb Ellis Cup. The Six Nations Championship in Europe and The Rugby Championship in the Southern Hemisphere are major annual competitions. The origin of football is reputed to be an incident during a game of English school football at Rugby School in 1823. Although the evidence for the story is doubtful, it was immortalised at the school with a plaque unveiled in 1895, despite the doubtful evidence, the Rugby World Cup trophy is named after Webb Ellis. Rugby football stems from the form of game played at Rugby School, Old Rugbeian Albert Pell, a student at Cambridge, is credited with having formed the first football team. During this early period different schools used different rules, with pupils from Rugby. Other important events include the Blackheath Clubs decision to leave the Football Association in 1863, despite the sports full name of rugby union, it is known simply as rugby throughout most of the world. The first rugby football international was played on 27 March 1871 between Scotland and England, by 1881 both Ireland and Wales had representative teams, and in 1883 the first international competition, the Home Nations Championship had begun. 1883 is also the year of the first rugby tournament, the Melrose Sevens. During the early history of union, a time before commercial air travel. The first two notable tours both took place in 1888—the British Isles team touring New Zealand and Australia, followed by the New Zealand team touring Europe, All three teams brought new styles of play, fitness levels and tactics, and were far more successful than critics had expected. After Morgan began singing, the crowd joined in, the first time a national anthem was sung at the start of a sporting event, in 1905 France played England in its first international match
Craig Douglas Bellamy is a Welsh former footballer who played as a forward. He is currently a pundit for BT Sport, born in Cardiff, Bellamy began his career with Norwich City. He went on to play for Coventry City and Newcastle United and he returned to the Premier League later that year, playing for Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool, West Ham United and Manchester City. For the 2010–11 season, Bellamy dropped down a division to the Championship in order to represent his boyhood club, Cardiff City and he moved to play at former club Liverpool the following season, before returning to Cardiff permanently. He later led Cardiff to the Premier League, the first time they had been in the top-flight for half a century, by scoring for Cardiff, he became the first player in Premier League history to score a goal for seven different teams. During his career, Bellamy won the Championship, the League Cup, the Scottish Cup and he also was a runner-up in the FA Cup and Champions League. He was at times criticised for his behaviour on and off the pitch and he made his senior debut for Wales in 1998 and over the next fifteen years gained 78 caps for his country and scored 19 goals. He was the Wales captain from 2007 to 2011, when he stepped down from the due to injuries. Bellamy retired from football, following the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign. He was also a member of the Great Britain Olympic team at the 2012 Olympics in London, appearing five times, Bellamy began his footballing career as a nine-year-old at Bristol Rovers, and spent two years at the club before being brought into the youth system of Norwich City. He made his first career start in the League Cup first round against Barnet on 12 August 1997, on 1 November, he scored his first goal, the opener in a 2–2 home draw with Bury. Bellamy earned his first career red card on 7 February 1998, a red in the 23rd minute against Manchester City. Bellamys first hat-trick in his career was scored on 22 August 1998, in December 1998, Bellamy injured his left knee following a challenge by Wolves defender Kevin Muscat and was ruled out for two months. He tore the ligaments on the same knee during a pre-season match in the summer of 1999. He made his return to the first team against Port Vale on 22 April 2000, Bellamy became Coventrys record signing, joining for £6 million on 16 August 2000 as a replacement for Robbie Keane. Amid strong interest from Newcastle United, he signed for the club after being impressed by manager Gordon Strachan and he had a poor start to his career with Coventry, scoring only three league goals by the start of December, two of which were penalties. On 10 December 2000, he scored the goal in a 1–0 victory over Leicester City to gain his side a crucial three points. Bellamys form improved after the arrival of his Wales strike partner John Hartson, however, Coventry were relegated at the end of the 2000–01 season as the team finished 19th in the Premier League, ending 34 consecutive years in the English top flight