Bell: Thomas Gilbert (Tom)
Born: Usworth nr Gateshead: 11-04-1899
Debut v Bury (a): 25-12-1922
5’7” 11st 2lb (1922)
United signed Bell from Birtley in March 1922, but he managed just the one game, at
left-back, when Jimmy Frew and his deputy Joe Potts were unavailable. "He had an
enforced break to his football career in August 1923, when he was sidelined due to
firstly injury and then diptheria and it was not until January 1924 that he was ready
to return to football" (Courtesy Neil Roche). He left for Third Division South side
Southend United, after United released him in June 1925 and his career blossomed,
becoming club captain. After scoring twice in ninety-one League and four F.A. Cup
appearances for the Shrimpers. First Division Portsmouth signed him in March 1928 and
the following year he was in their side which lost 0-2 to Bolton Wanderers in the F.A.
Cup Final. In the Final during a period of second-half pressure from Bolton, Bell was
injured, and, after attention, switched to outside-left. The cohesion of the Portsmouth
team was broken as a result, and Butler, a fiery and determined winger, cut inside to
shoot Bolton into the lead with ten minutes to go. Mackie hacked the ball clear a
fraction too late, as it had already crossed the line. He made twenty-six League
appearances for Pompey before, in May 1930, he joined Third Division North team,
Carlisle United, where he made twelve League appearances before moving to Non-League
Burton Town in August 1931 and finally back home to Usworth Colliery in October 1931.
He died in 1975.