Willie Bell

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Willie Bell
Personal information
Full nameWilliam John Bell [1]
Date of birth (1937-09-03) 3 September 1937 (age 83)
Place of birth Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Position(s) Left back
Senior career*
1958–1960 Queen's Park 54 (2)
1960–1967 Leeds United 204 (15)
1967–1969 Leicester City 49 (0)
1969–1970 Brighton & Hove Albion 44 (1)
National team
1966 Scotland 2 (0)
Teams managed
1975–1977 Birmingham City
1977–1978 Lincoln City
1979–2001 Liberty Flames
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

William John Bell (born 3 September 1937) is a Scottish former football player and manager. He played as a left back.


Bell was born in Johnstone, Renfrewshire. He played for Queen's Park in the Scottish Football League and for Leeds United, Leicester City and Brighton & Hove Albion in the English Football League. He played more than 200 league games for Leeds United in the 1960s. Leeds had many hard men but Bell was only cautioned once with a booking in over 200 games for Leeds. Norman Hunter said of him "Willie Bell was one of the bravest men I have seen in my life. He never blinked, he never flinched, he just went for it." The Definitive History of Leeds United published a small biography of Bell titled Willie Bell - Hewn of Scottish granite saying he was "a consistent force at left back for Leeds between 1962 and 1967" [2] as well as being "one of a clutch of old hands amongst a squad of novices as United sprinted to the top of the English game". [3]

Bell played in the 1965 FA Cup Final and multiple European club competitions.

At international level, Bell represented Scotland multiple times at various levels including being called up twice for full-international duty. His International career included a 1-1 draw with Brazil in 1966 at Hampden Park. Bell had one of the stronger outings that day, effectively shutting Jairzinho out of the match.

After retiring from playing, Bell managed Birmingham City and Lincoln City, and then moved to the United States, where he coached the Liberty University Flames in Lynchburg, Virginia. Bell spent 21 seasons coaching at Liberty, compiling a 198-149-40 record overseeing the Flames transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II and eventually NCAA Division I status in 1987. [4] Bell received a Doctorate Degree from Liberty University upon his retirement and was later inducted into the Liberty University Flames Hall of Fame.

Bell is a devout Christian and an ordained minister, who together with wife Mary founded a ministry which visits prisons in England and the United States. [5] He wrote an autobiography of his life in 2014 called "The Light at the End of the Tunnel". [6]


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  1. "Willie Bell". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  2. "Willie Bell - Hewn of Scottish granite". The Might Might Whites. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  3. "Willie Bell - Hewn of Scottish granite". The Might Might Whites. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  5. Brown, Eric (1 February 2009). "Freeing the captive: Former LU soccer coach finds purpose in prison ministry". Liberty Journal. Liberty University . Retrieved 8 February 2009.
  6. "Leeds United Bibliography". LUFCtalk Fans Forum. Retrieved 2 December 2020.