Signed from Bury in 1966 at the age of 20 for a fee of £45.000, substantial at the time and seen as one very special signing for Man City in a historical perspective.
Bell established himself quickly in the first team and played 11 games and scored 4 goals in his first season as Man City got promoted and playing in the top tier from 1966 and unwards.
The progress continued as he also became a top tier performer and being part of a Man City team that had great success under the management team of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison.
As early as 1968 he got a call up to the England team, making his debut vs. Sweden that year after being played in the U.23’s for two games earlier in that year. He had a number good competitors in the England midfield and had picked up a few caps before being picked for the 1970 World Cup.
Bell played in the World Cup vs. Czechoslovakia, Brazil and West Germany, starting in the 1-0 win vs. Czech and being a sub in the two other games. He would have been a key player for the 1974 World Cup, but as England did not qualify his only appearances at this stage came in Mexico.
Colin Bell had his grand importance in a Man City team that won the league in 68, FA Cup in 69 and the League Cup and European Cup winners Cup in 70. All titles with Bell making massive impact on all occasions.
Colin Bell was at his peak when injury striked in November 75. Man City had a good team mixed with experience and young talent as they build on tradition. Despite the absence of Bell they won the League Cup and also another season did go by with Bell still out as Man City came close to league victory in 1976/77 when they ended runners-up, only by a point behind Liverpool.
Tony Book who had been appointed manager a few years before had his team build around Bell, and unfairly treated as they believed his work was not as good as it should have been, but replacing Bell was a tall order and with his injury nightmare he did miss a grand opportunity to build on his other medals as this League Cup trophy in 76 became the last in the trophy collection with Bell still at Maine Road.
Bell never became the same player after that nightmare injury and he moved to NASL in 1980 and after a handfull of games set his retirement date in the same year. He later became a coach at Man City and worked in their academy for many years.
Bell died in 2021 at the age of 74 and his legacy and memories will always be there of a grand athlete who had his best years in football when it was special and by many seen as the most important decade of this game, the 70’s.
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