Manchester City legend Colin Bell has passed away at the age of 74 after a short battle with illness, the Premier League side have confirmed.
Nicknamed the ‘Nijinsky’, in homage to the famous Derby-winning horse, the former England midfielder was one of the finest players of his generation.
Bell will go down as one of Man City’s greatest-ever playersGetty Images
Bell was at the heart of City’s successful side of the late 1960s and 70s, and is widely regarded as one of the club’s best-ever players.
He made 498 appearances for his beloved City during a 13-year stint, scoring a total of 153 goals.
Bell was earmarked as long-term replacement for Bobby Charlton in the England midfield but, after the frustration of failing to qualify for the 1974 World Cup, effectively had his career ended by a knee injury at the age of 29.
Bell also earned the nickname ‘The King of the Kippax’ after one of the terraces at their former Maine Road home, and has a stand named after him at the Etihad Stadium after a fans vote.
It is with the deepest sadness and heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of Manchester City legend Colin Bell.
#ManCity | https://t.co/axa0klD5re
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 5, 2021
A club statement read: “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.”
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.
“I am fortunate to be able to speak regularly to his former manager and team-mates, and it’s clear to me that Colin was a player held in the highest regard by all those who had the privilege of playing alongside him or seeing him play.
“The passage of time does little to erase the memories of his genius. The fact that we have a stand at the Etihad Stadium named after Colin speaks volumes about the importance of his contribution to this club.”