Colin Bell

Reds pay tribute to Man City legend Colin Bell

Wednesday 06 January 2021 16:00

Former Manchester United players joined their football peers in posting messages about Colin Bell when the Manchester City icon sadly passed away on Tuesday night - the eve of the latest derby between the clubs.

A gifted creative midfielder, Bell made 501 appearances for the Blues between 1966 and 1979, scoring 153 goals, and is widely regarded as one of their greatest ever servants. Last year, he was ranked at no.1 in the Manchester Evening News' countdown of the top 50 City players, ahead of more recent stars such as David Silva and their record goalscorer Sergio Aguero.

As United's goalkeeper in the 1970s and late 1960s, Alex Stepney played against Bell on numerous occasions. On hearing that his revered derby opponent and international colleague had passed away, he tweeted: "Colin and myself both made our England debuts in the same game in 1968, he was a fantastic player in a great City side and football is poorer tonight. All my love to family x."

Stepney's team-mate in United's 1977 FA Cup-winning side, Gordon Hill, posted: "Oh Lord, please give me a break with taking so many footballers, and managers. Just a few months' grace, please. R.I.P. Colin."

Other ex-Reds tweeting their condolences included Mickey Thomas - "Colin Bell. A fantastic footballer. RIP" - and David May: "RIP Colin Bell, proper footballer. Thoughts with all his family."
John White, Branch Secretary of Carryduff Manchester United Supporters' Club, pays this personal tribute

Football rivalries run deep and it’s a flip of a coin as to which club we Reds consider our biggest rivals out of City and Liverpool. But despite that, in my opinion it is important to respect not only our players, but the players of our opponents.

Just 24 hours before our important League Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City at Old Trafford, a player who graced the Manchester derby on many occasions passed away aged just 74. His name? Colin Bell.

Bell played for Manchester City from 1966-79, having signed for our rivals from Bury, and the Blues’ legendary manager Joe Mercer was lucky to acquire this extremely talented and stylish midfielder, a player coveted by a number of other clubs. Mercer’s right-hand man Malcolm Allison tried to put other clubs off the scent by claiming that City were not interested in the 20-year-old as he was “hopeless.” It worked, and so Bell joined the club when they were in the English Second Division. In season 1965/66, he scored four times in his 11 league appearances, helping City win the Second Division title and gain promotion back into the top flight.
City icon Colin Bell enthralled football fans throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
Prior to Bell’s arrival at Maine Road, City had only won one First Division Championship title and three FA Cups – four major trophies in 86 years since their formation in 1880. By the time he retired in 1979, he had helped our rivals to another First Division title in 1967/68, an FA Cup triumph in 1969, a League Cup success in 1970 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in season 1969/70. To say Bell was an influential player for City was without doubt, and he also made 48 appearances for England.

For me, he was class personified on a football pitch. He is considered one of England's finest-ever midfield players, being described by one commentator as: “The most finished article in the modern game.” High praise indeed but well worthy of this player. His nickname 'The King of The Kippax' endured, and his legacy continues to this day with a fans’ vote in 2004 naming a stand at their new Etihad Stadium after him.

The thoughts and prayers of the members of Carryduff Manchester United Supporters’ Club – and United fans around the world – are with the Bell family and all associated with Manchester City.