County Durham-born Manchester City and England legend Colin Bell dies aged 74

County Durham-born Manchester City and England legend Colin Bell has died aged 74.

Known as ‘The King of the Kippax’ by followers, Bell spent 13 years as a participant at Maine Road, profitable each the primary and second division titles in addition to the FA Cup, League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup.

He made 492 appearances for the membership over 13 seasons, scoring 152 objectives, and additionally gained 48 caps for England, netting 9 occasions. Those statistics could have been higher had damage not curtailed his profession.

Bell hailed from the North East, born in Hesleden, County Durham, on February 26, 1946. He was raised by his father and different relations after his mom died when he was only a little one.

Bell was a youth participant with Horden Colliery Welfare earlier than becoming a member of Second Division Bury as a teen, having had unsuccessful trials with Newcastle, Sunderland and Arsenal.

He rapidly established himself at Gigg Lane and turned the Shakers captain, attracting the curiosity of larger golf equipment within the course of.

City had been eager however in need of funds. Folklore has it that Malcolm Allison used to observe him however bemoan his means inside earshot of different scouts, to mislead them, till City might afford the price. They finally signed him for £45,000 in 1966 – “an unbelievable discount,” mentioned Allison, who coached and later managed City.

Bell supplied the entire midfield bundle. He might sort out, was filled with working, had tempo, an eye fixed for a move and was a wonderful finisher.

Colin Bell

Allison, who regarded him as “world class”, was the primary to dub him ‘Nijinsky’ after the well-known racehorse.

He scored on his debut and helped City safe promotion in 1966 and was one in every of their stand-out gamers as they edged out Manchester United to win the First Division title two years later.

It was at St James’ Park on the ultimate day of the 1967 to 68 season that the City aspect picked up the title after an exciting 4-3 victory over the Magpies.

FA Cup success adopted in 1969 and two extra trophies, the League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup, had been gained in 1970. He was the membership’s high scorer thrice.

Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak mentioned: “Colin Bell will all the time be remembered as one in every of Manchester City’s biggest gamers and the very unhappy information in the present day of his passing will have an effect on all people related to our membership.

“I’m lucky to have the ability to converse frequently to his former supervisor and teammates, and it is clear to me that Colin was a participant held within the highest regard by all those that had the privilege of enjoying alongside him or seeing him play.

“The passage of time does little to erase the recollections of his genius. The indisputable fact that we now have a stand on the Etihad (*74*) named after Colin speaks volumes concerning the significance of his contribution to this membership.

Manchester City's Colin Bell
Manchester City’s Colin Bell

“Colin was extremely humble and a modest and understated man with an apparent internal power of character. He was clearly snug with who he was and what he had achieved within the sport.

“For the remainder of us, there’s all the time the considered what may need been if damage had not affected his profession. Undoubtedly extra trophies for City and excess of the 49 England caps to his identify.

“Our membership has misplaced a real nice. Everyone’s ideas and greatest needs are with Colin’s household.”

He made his England debut in 1968 and was a member of the squad on the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

Such was his health, he gained each occasion in a ‘mini-Olympics’ organised to assist the squad acclimatise to the warmth.

In phrases of the motion, nevertheless, he was used sparingly and unwittingly gained an unwelcome place in historical past as the person despatched on for Bobby Charlton within the quarter-final defeat to West Germany.

He was earmarked as long-term alternative for Charlton within the England midfield however, after the frustration of failing to qualify for the 1974 World Cup, successfully had his profession ended by a knee damage on the age of 29.

Bell, who had been in his prime, was out of motion for 2 years after being harm in a sort out by United’s Martin Buchan in November 1975.

He by no means blamed Buchan for what he thought to be an accident, however his comeback was not profitable and he retired in August 1979.

He briefly tried to revive his profession with San Jose Earthquakes in 1980 nevertheless it lasted simply 5 video games. After soccer he held teaching roles with City’s youth and reserve groups and later turned a membership ambassador.

He was uncomfortable within the limelight and guarded his privateness, because the title of his 2005 autobiography, ‘Reluctant Hero’, instructed.

It took numerous cajoling by household and mates for him to put in writing that e-book, nevertheless it saved his life. It was learn by football-loving surgeon, Jim Hill, who, noting how Bell’s mom had died of bowel most cancers, contacted him suggesting he be checked out. Bowel most cancers was additionally recognized and inside three weeks he was operated on.

Bell, whose identify lives on within the ‘Colin Bell Stand’ named after him on the Etihad (*74*), died on Tuesday aged 74 after a brief sickness.

He is survived by spouse Marie, youngsters Jon and Dawn and grandchildren Luke, Mark, Isla and Jack.


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