We're saddened to hear about the passing of former England player and FA Cup winner Colin Bell, who has died at the age of 74 after a short illness.
The County Durham-born midfielder collected 48 caps for the Three Lions and scored nine goals, after excelling with Manchester City where he's considered to be their greatest ever player.
After starting his career with Bury in 1963, he caught the eye of near neighbours City who swooped to sign him in 1966. He went on to play almost 500 games in 13 years with the Blues and helped them to the First Division title in 1968 as well as collecting the FA Cup the following year.
Further honours came with a League Cup victory and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup title in 1970 along with two FA Charity Shields in 1968 and 1972.
He made his England debut in May 1968, becoming the 852nd senior England player in our 422nd game, in a 3-1 win against Sweden at Wembley having previously impressed with the MU23s earlier that year.
Quickly becoming a regular in the squad, he featured in the UEFA EURO Finals of 1968, helping England to a third-place finish.
Two years later, he was part of the squad which travelled to Mexico for the 1970 World Cup Finals as defending champions. Unfortunately, the Three Lions fell short after a quarter-final defeat against West Germany in which Bell appeared as a substitute.
He later went on to captain England in Bobby Moore’s absence during the 1972 Home Nations Tournament, a 1-0 defeat against Northern Ireland.
Bell was part of the England squad who lifted Home Nations Tournament titles on three occasions in 1969, 1973 and 1975, sharing the title in 1970, 1972 and 1974.
Sadly for Bell though, he was unable to appear on the world stage again as England failed to qualify for both the ’72 EURO Finals and the ’74 World Cup Finals.
All of our thoughts are with Colin’s friends and family at this time.