Alex Bell

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Alex Bell
Personal information
Full name Alexander Bell
Date of birth 1882
Place of birth Cape Town, Cape Colony
Date of death 1934 (aged 51–52)
Place of death Chorlton-cum-Hardy, England
Playing position Wing half
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
????–1903 Ayr Parkhouse ? (?)
1903–1913 Manchester United 278 (10)
1913–1921 Blackburn Rovers 11 (0)
1921–1922 Clackmannan
National team
1912 Scotland 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Alexander Bell (1882 – 30 November 1934), also known as Sandy Bell, was a South African-born Scottish footballer who played as a wing half.

Club career[edit]

Born in Cape Town, Cape Colony, to Scottish parents, Bell began his professional football career as a centre-forward with various clubs in Ayr, including Ayr Spring Vale, Ayr Westerlea and Ayr Parkhouse. While with Ayr Parkhouse, Bell was spotted by former Newton Heath half-back Will Davidson, who reported his findings back to Manchester United.[1]

United paid Ayr Parkhouse £700 for Bell in January 1903. At this stage, it was less than a year since United's formation in place of the bankrupt Newton Heath club, and they were still in the Football League Second Division, from which they won promotion in 1906.

He struggled to make an impact in the Manchester United first team as a centre-forward, making just 11 appearances in his first two years at the club. However, United suffered an injury crisis at half-back in 1904, and Bell was called upon to step in. As it happened, Bell excelled in his new position, and became the club's regular left-half, forming an unbreakable trio with Charlie Roberts and Dick Duckworth.[1] He was Manchester United's first Scotland international.

After scoring 10 goals in 309 appearances,[2] and winning two First Division titles (1907–08 and 1910–11) and one FA Cup (1909), Bell was sold to Blackburn Rovers for a fee of £1,000 in July 1913. He played only a few matches for Blackburn before the outbreak of the First World War, and signed for Clackmannan in 1921. He played for Clackmannan for one season before retiring as a player and joining the coaching staff at Coventry City. His last job in football was at Manchester City, where he was employed as coach and trainer from 1925 until his death in 1934.[1] At the time of his death he was coach and trainer at Manchester City.

Bell's name was immortalised by former Manchester United teammate Charlie Roberts, who became a tobacconist after retiring from football, naming a brand of cigarette "Ducrobel" after United's famous half-back trio of Duckworth, Roberts and Bell.[1]

His playing career had ended by the time of World War I (1914–1918), and he died in November 1934 at the age of 52.

International career[edit]

In March 1912, Bell made his only appearance for the Scottish national team, playing in a 4–1 win over Ireland. He was Manchester United's first Scotland international.


Manchester United
Blackburn Rovers

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Barnes, Justyn; Bostock, Adam; Butler, Cliff; Ferguson, Jim; Meek, David; Mitten, Andy; Pilger, Sam; Taylor, Frank OBE; Tyrell, Tom (2001). The Official Manchester United Illustrated Encyclopedia. London: Manchester United Books. ISBN 0-233-99964-7.
  2. ^ Alexander Bell

External links[edit]