Eric Bell, ex-Wanderers player, has died at the age of 82, peacefully, in the south of Manchester. Bell made 118 appearance for the Men in White between the years of 1949-1958. He played in the now-obsolete wing half position, commonly used in what was called the WM formation as an early midfield position. He only scored 2 goals for the Wanderers, one in the 1953 FA Cup final, and the other in a 6-1 league win against Wolves.
His goal in the 1953 cup final put Bolton 3-1 ahead against Blackpool. Bell tore his hamstring in the Matthews Final, but scored a header nonetheless, and went on to play the whole match as there were no substitutes in those days. Of course, as more historically-inclined fans will know, Bolton went on to lose that final 4-3, in spit of being 2 goals up, in typical Bolton fashion.
That was his last FA Cup Final. Bell was still in the squad when Bolton won the cup in 1958, but he did not make an appearance in the match. In spite of a largely successful career at club level, he never managed to translate that to an international career for England. He made several appearances for the England B side, but never received a full cap.
Bell played only for the Wanderers in his senior career, although he did try to make it at Manchester United. He was rejected, and went to Bolton instead, but through his success there prompted United manager Sir Matt Busby to write in his autobiography: "I have rejected dozens of young amateurs at Old Trafford, I can think of only one who has proved my judgement incorrect by succeeding in the colours of another team...Eric Bell."
The club has officially offered their condolences to Eric Bell's family, and we at the Lion of Vienna Suite wish to do the same.