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Man City mourn loss of club great Bell

Colin Bell, one of the best English midfielders of his generation and considered an all-time great at Manchester City, has died. He was 74.

“Colin passed away peacefully this afternoon after a short, non-Covid related illness, aged 74. He leaves behind wife Marie, children Jon and Dawn and grandchildren, Luke, Mark, Isla and Jack,” a City statement released on Tuesday read.

A classy and tireless midfield player, Bell was part of City’s 1967-68 First Division title-winning team and scored 152 goals in 492 games for the Manchester club between 1966 and 1979.

He also won the FA Cup, League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup at City during the club’s most successful period until their recent title successes.

A tweet from FIFA read: “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.”

Bell was capped 48 times by England and featured in the 1970 World Cup.

He was earmarked as the long-term replacement for Bobby Charlton in the England midfield but suffered a serious knee injury in 1975, aged 29, which effectively curtailed his career.

City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said in a statement on the club website: “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.”

Mike Summerbee, a former City teammate of Bell and now a club ambassador, told their official website: “He was just the greatest footballer we have ever had. Kevin De Bruyne reminds me a lot of Colin in the way he plays and the way he is as a person.”

Francis Lee told the club website: “He goes into the top five City players of all time – only in the last 10, 15 years has anyone else come along who can take that mantle.”

City’s rivals Manchester United also paid tribute, writing on Twitter: “All of us at @ManUtd are deeply saddened by the passing of Colin Bell, a true footballing legend. Condolences to Colin’s loved ones and everyone at @ManCity.”

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