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‘One of the greatest’: Former England and Manchester City star Colin Bell dies aged 74

Written by on 5 January 2021

Former Manchester City and England footballer Colin Bell has died aged 74.

A statement from his former club said that Bell died after a “short, non-COVID related illness” on Tuesday afternoon. He is survived by his wife Marie, children Jon and Dawn, and grandchildren Luke, Mark, Isla and Jack.

Known affectionately by fans as “Colin the King”, the City star played 492 games for the club – scoring 152 goals over a 13-year career.

Image:
Colin Bell in action in 1970 for Manchester City

He also made 48 appearances for the England national team.

In 2004, a stand at Manchester City’s Etihad stadium was named after the player.

Club chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak said: “Colin Bell will always be remembered as one of Manchester City’s greatest players and the very sad news today of his passing will affect everybody connected to our club.

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“I am fortunate to be able to speak regularly to his former manager and teammates, and it’s clear to me that Colin was a player held in the highest regard by all those who had the privilege of playing alongside him or seeing him play.

“The passage of time does little to erase the memories of his genius. The fact that we have a stand at the Etihad Stadium named after Colin speaks volumes about the importance of his contribution to this club.

File photo dated 26-04-1969 of Manchester City's Colin Bell holds up the FA Cup with teammates in front of the Manchester City fans at Wembley Stadium after beating Leicester City 1-0..
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FIFA said Bell was one of England’s ‘finest all-time midfielders’

“Colin was incredibly humble and a modest and understated man with an obvious inner strength of character. He was clearly comfortable with who he was and what he had achieved in the game.

“For the rest of us, there is always the thought of what might have been if injury had not affected his career. Undoubtedly more trophies for City and far more than the 48 England caps to his name.

“Our club has lost a true great. Everyone’s thoughts and best wishes are with Colin’s family.”

Tributes have been paid from around the footballing world, including from FIFA, Manchester United and the England national team.

A tweet from Manchester United said: “All of us @ManUtd are deeply saddened by the passing of Colin Bell, a true footballing legend.

“Condolences to Colin’s loved ones and everyone @ManCity. #ACityUnited.”

Colin Bell (left) scores his second goal in the fourth-round FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea
Image:
Bell played 492 games for City – scoring 152 goals over a 13-year career

The England football team tweeted: “We’re deeply saddened by the news that Colin Bell, who won 48 caps for the #ThreeLions between 1968 and 1975, has passed away.

“Our deepest condolences go to Colin’s family, friends and former clubs.”

A statement from football’s governing body FIFA said: “Seldom has a player been as beloved at a club as Colin Bell at
@ManCity.

“He was affectionately known as ‘The King of the Kippax’ and has a stand named in his honour at the City of Manchester Stadium

“RIP to one of @England’s finest all-time midfielders.”