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Terry Bell - RIP

It is with great sadness that we report the death of former Reading player Terry Bell after a long illness. He passed away on the evening of Thursday, 15 May 2014. He was 69.

As Boss of Hartlepool United, legendary manager Brian Clough made Terry his first ever signing in the summer of 1966.

Clough, and his assistant Peter Taylor, signed him from non-leaguers Nuneaton Borough as a midfield player, but quickly converted him into a striker with great effect. Bell soon established himself in the ‘Pools side and went on to build a proud goal-scoring record during a four-year stint at the Victoria Ground. He topped the club’s goal scoring charts in an historic promotion winning side of 1967/68.

Born in Nottingham in 1944, Terry, who also had spells with Forest, Manchester City and Portsmouth, impressed ‘Cloughie’ with his great strength and ability. Sky TV’s ‘Soccer Saturday’ host and broadcaster Jeff Stelling, a life-long Hartlepool fan, has gone on record as saying, “Terry Bell was my boyhood hero. He was a fantastic finisher with terrific skills and pace.”

Those talents also caught the eye of Reading manager Jack Mansell and Terry moved south and joined the club in 1969. The transfer fee of £8,000 enabled the northern club to survive a dire financial crisis.

Bell soon became a favorite with the Elm Park crowd and was voted Reading’s ‘Player of the Year’ in season 1970-71.

His former captain and good friend, Bobby Williams, said of Terry, “He had skill in abundance; a great header of the ball despite his lack of height but more importantly he had a great attitude and was a real character. He could motivate a dressing room and all his team-mates had great respect for him. He will be greatly missed by all that knew him”.

The next two seasons saw Terry drop back into a deeper, midfield role so his goal scoring return was reduced, but, nevertheless, he remained a key player in Mansell’s free scoring side of the early Seventies. Unfortunately the arrival of Charlie Hurley as manager in 1972 met with Terry’s move to Aldershot in the summer of 1973.

Spells with Wokingham Town and Hillingdon Borough followed before he finally hung up his boots in 1982.

Terry was a very keen Golfer and a member of Calcot Park Golf Club for over 20 years. He continued to enjoy his football and was a regular, and most welcome, visitor to Madejski Stadium.

In all, Terry made 98 League and Cup appearances for ‘The Royals’, scoring 21 goals.

Our sincere condolences go to his wife Jackie; his son Nick; daughter Natasha and his family.

Terry’s funeral service will take place at Reading Crematorium, All Hallows Road at 12.15 on Tuesday, 27th May.

20 May 2014

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