Ex-Canary Craig Bellamy isn't exactly known for his charity. On the pitch, he certainly doesn't give his opponents an inch.
In fact, his reputation has been somewhat tarnished by stories of nightclub brawls and golf club attacks on team-mates. And there was, of course, that famous story of his coach toilet lock-in on the return leg of a trip to QPR in 1997 during his time at Carrow Road.
It's fair to say he's not the most popular of Premier League stars, but only his harshest critics would begrudge him a little credit for his latest venture ? the construction of a brand new football structure in war-ravaged Sierra Leone.
The President of the African nation, Ernest Bai Koroma, is so impressed by Bellamy's plans that he has gifted a 25-acre site on which to start building and has instructed his ministers to jump to the West Ham forward's command.
The Craig Bellamy Foundation will soon herald the start of a football academy in Freetown, the capital, that the Welshman insists will match standards in the Barclays Premier League.
However, his vision for the country does not stop at football. The project places a strong emphasis on education too ? something considered a luxury in Sierra Leone.
And in November, The Craig Bellamy Foundation League will be under way, an initiative that will incorporate 14 new leagues and 68 new boys' teams, thus giving employment to 141 managers and coaches.
It all started with a trip to West Africa at the end of season 2006/07 ? much to the annoyance of his then club, Liverpool.
Having been tipped off about the country's passion for Premier League football, Bellamy decided to turn up unannounced to see what all the fuss was about.
“I thought, 'I wouldn't mind going to see that for myself,'” Bellamy told The Times in a recent article.
“I've always been intrigued by Africa's footballers and that's one continent we don't really get to see.”
He then arrived there for a week in June last year with little apart from a large quantity of footballs he had persuaded Nike, his sponsor, to provide.
“I wanted to see the country my own way, without fanfare or publicity,” he said. “And I made a rule that wherever I saw people playing football, I would stop, give them a ball and join in.
“That's where I got the idea for the academy. I thought, 'I'm in the middle of nowhere and they're playing with a ball made of rolled-up socks.' And these boys had ability that I don't see from kids any more.”
Some cynics have suggested that the whole project is nothing more than a clever PR stunt. But, as has been suggested, there are much cheaper ways to get yourself a bit of publicity.
The initial Foundation costs will be approaching ?550,000 a year. Of that, Bellamy has so far budgeted nearly ?650,000 of his own money in the first three years – a very expensive PR gimmick indeed.
Neither is the former Norwich trainee in it for financial gain either. If any gems are to be unearthed, then any transfer fee will go straight back into the club.
“I'm not looking to find and sell players,” he added. “I'm not an agent. I want to make it clear that if any player does make it, any fee goes straight back into the academy.”
And it's all about the long-term gain for the country ? be it through football or otherwise. Bellamy's vision is that the young lads who do not make it as professional footballers will leave the Academy equipped to make it in life elsewhere.
But a much-improved outlook and the chance of a better future will be a life-changing experience for these youngsters ? whether it's through football or otherwise.
“This will be such a culture shock for these kids,” Bellamy continued. “There will be kids who have never left their village, who have lost family members in the war and may well have had an older brother who was a child soldier.
“We'll literally be starting by teaching them social behaviour you teach a three-year-old.”
Finally, after almost a decade of civil war, the future is looking brighter in Sierra Leone. Last August, the general election results ? in which Koroma came into power – pointed to an end to the unrest.
And now that peace is on the horizon, Bellamy is hoping that the children of the future can enjoy the fruits of this extraordinary venture.
“Because of what's happened over the years with the war, children haven't had any opportunity, they haven't been thrown a football, they've been thrown a gun.
“Now we can give them a chance that their fathers or grandfathers never had. That's the buzz for me.”
And once the Sierra Leone project is up and running, is there a plan to take The Craig Bellamy Foundation across the globe?
“I've thought about doing it in Cape Verde. But for now, it's all Sierra Leone. When you see these people, they do have an effect on you. There is now no other place I'd rather do something like this.”