TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Hartlepool United star who has sadly passed away at the age of 69.
Nottingham-born Terry Bell was top goalscorer in Pools’ historic first promotion season back in 1967-68.
As a young midfielder, Bell was on the books of a few top clubs 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. Bell enjoyed legendary status at Pools and received a heart-warming
standing ovation as a guest at the club’s centenary dinner.
Hartlepool United said: “We’re sorry to learn of the death of former Pools star Terry Bell at 69 – he was top scorer in our first-ever promotion season in 1967-68.”
He played 123 games for Pools, scoring 38 goals.
Terry, a keen golfer, was also Hartlepool-born Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling’s favourite Pools player.
The Soccer Saturday presenter, speaking in a previous interview, said: “Terry Bell was a great ball player – he was a fantastic crowd favourite.
“He could do some terrific things with the ball and we weren’t used to that level of skill at the Vic.”
Hartlepool DJ Paul ‘Goffy’ Gough, who helped organise the centenary dinner, said: “Terry took a lot of pride and pleasure from the reception he received that night.
“He was a legendary figure, made a lot of friends here and will be sadly missed.”
Former garage owner John Rae, who ran the Audi franchise from his Park Road showroom, employed the star striker part-time when he played for Pools.
The 80-year-old said: “Like a lot of players at the time, Terry had a part time job to earn a decent living. He would wash cars and run errands on afternoons after training and was very popular with staff and customers.
“He became a very close family friend and Sunday mornings would often be spent at the Billingham Forum playing five-a-side football. Terry would captain one side, I would captain the other and my two sons Andrew and Alastair and their school friends would make up the teams.
“I am shocked to hear of Terry’s passing.
“He’ll be remembered as one of Pools’ all-time greats and my thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”