EMOTIONAL tributes have continued to pour in to a former Hartlepool United star who has sadly passed away after an illness.
Terry Bell, aged 69, was top goalscorer in Pools’ historic first promotion season back in 1967-68 and his former teammates and friends have paid fitting tributes to a man who “always had a smile on his face”.
European Cup winner John McGovern, who played for Pools between 1966 and 1968 before enjoying success at Derby County and Nottingham Forest, said: “Terry was a really exciting player and he always had a big smile on his face.
“We had a catch up recently and I enjoyed reminiscing about the old times. Terry will be sadly missed and my thoughts are with his family, it is a really sad day.”
Terry was close friends with Mick Somers, who spent two years at The Vic in the late 1960’s, and Mick told the Mail the pair were like “brothers”.
An emotional Mick said: “I had known Terry since we were young kids and his death has come as a terrible shock.
“Terry was a great guy and we were like brothers when we were at Hartlepool.
“Football wise, he would have been worth a lot of money these days because he could score goals and was fantastic in the air.
“Once he got in the team, there was no stopping him.”
As a young midfielder, Nottingham-born Terry was on the books of Nottingham Forest, Manchester City and Portsmouth before dropping into non-league football. It was while playing for Nuneaton Borough that he was brought to Hartlepool United by then boss Brian Clough in the summer of 1966.
Under Clough’s management Bell was converted to a striker, with great affect, finishing top scorer in the promotion season.
A spokesman for Hartlepool United said: “Bell went on to become a huge favourite with Pools fans was top scorer with fifteen goals in all competitions as the club secured a first-ever promotion in 1967-68.
“He was top scorer again in 1969-70 and in total he found the net 38 times in 123 outings for Pools before moving on to Reading in 1970 and then Aldershot in 1973 where he was similarly successful.
“Later in his career he had a spell as player manager of non-league outfit Wokingham Town and was also involved with Hillingdon Borough before retiring in Reading.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends at this time.”
During his time in Hartlepool, Terry spent a short time living with well-known town personality Stan Laundon, a former BBC radio presenter, at his house in Kildale Road back in 1967.
Stan said: “Terry was a lovely fella, a really nice guy and we got on really well.
“I was a big Pools fan and went to see him play and have very fond memories of his time at the club.
“He was a great footballer and he will be sadly missed.”
His goalscoring exploits at Hartlepool United caught the eye of Reading manager Jack Mansell and he joined the club in 1969, the transfer fee of £8,000 helping Pools out in a dire financial crisis.
Bell made 98 appearances for Reading, scoring 21 goals for the club before leaving for Aldershot in the summer of 1973.
A spokesman from Reading’s Former Player Association, said: “Our sincere condolences go to Terry’s wife Jackie, his son Nick, daughter Natasha and his family.”
The keen golfer finally hung up his boots in 1982 after spells with Wokingham Town and Hillingdon Borough.
His funeral service will take place at Reading Crematorium, All Hallows Road at 12.15 on Tuesday, May 27.