Former English midfielder and Manchester City star Colin Bell has died.
The former midfielder won 48 caps with England and won the league with Manchester City along with the FA Cup, League Cup and Cup Winner’s Cup in a remarkable two years.
His death at the age of 74 was announced by the club tonight.
He made 492 appearances and scored 152 goals for City during his 13-year residency after joining from Bury in 1966.
A statement from the club said: “Colin passed away peacefully this afternoon at the age of 74 after a brief non-Covid-related illness. He leaves behind Mrs. Marie, children Jon and Dawn and grandchildren, Luke, Mark, Isla and Jack. “
Bell was nicknamed The King of the Kippax after one of the terraces in their former home on Maine Road.
He was part of the Bell, Lee, and Summerbee trio in City, which formed one of their all-time best casts.
After a fan vote, he also had a stand named after him in the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester United also paid tribute tonight, calling Bell a “true football legend” in a Twitter post.
But they were far from being alone.
Former City and England striker Francis Lee said Bell was “a fantastic player”.
Lee said on the club’s official website, “It was unfortunate that he was injured because it cut his career by a good four or five years. You tend to think around 28, 29, if there’s any chance you know everything, you know!
“He had tremendous stamina. He was a very good player technically and had the ability to score goals.
“He’s one of the five best city players of all time – only in the last 10 or 15 years has someone else come along who can take on this coat.”
Mike Summerbee also paid tribute to “a handsome, humble man”.
Summerbee said on the club’s official website, “He was a big star for Manchester City but you never would have known.
“He was calm, humble, and I always think he never knew how good he actually was. He was just the greatest footballer we’ve ever had.
“Kevin De Bruyne reminds me a lot of Colin, the way he plays and what he is like as a person.”
Former England international Summerbee added: “He’s been adored by City fans and for our fans to say he’s the best they’ve seen, there is no better compliment than that, can there?”
“He was very special and will be missed very sadly.”
A tweet from the national team’s account read: “We are deeply saddened to hear that Colin Bell, who won 48 internationals for #ThreeLions between 1968 and 1975, has passed away.
“Our deepest condolences go to Colin’s family, friends and former clubs.”
Midfielder Bell was the centerpiece of City’s successful squad in the late 1960s and 70s.
Bell helped City move up to the top division in 1966 and was one of their standout players when they won the First Division title against Manchester United two years later.
The success of the FA Cup followed in 1969 and two other trophies in 1970 – the League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Bell was the club’s top scorer three times.
He was born in Hesleden, County Durham and was part of the squad for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
After Bell was injured by Manchester United’s Martin Buchan in November 1975, his career ended prematurely with a knee injury.
After an unsuccessful comeback, he retired in 1980.
After football, Bell held coaching roles for City’s youth and reserve teams and later became a club ambassador.
Gary Lineker said on Twitter: “It’s sad to hear that Colin Bell has passed away. One of my favorite players growing up. Great box-to-box midfielder. A real gem for @ManCity and @England. #RIPColin. “
City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said in a statement on the club’s website: “Colin Bell will always be remembered as one of Manchester City’s greatest players and the very sad news of his death will affect everyone today are associated with our club.
“I’m fortunate to have regular conversations with his former manager and teammates, and I realize Colin was a player who was highly regarded by anyone who had the privilege of playing by his side or seeing him play was appreciated. “
“The passage of time does little to erase memories of your genius. The fact that we have a booth named after Colin at Etihad Stadium speaks volumes about the importance of his contribution to the club. “