Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
Leeds United/City Captains
Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games
Leeds United/City Reserves and Other Teams

Bell: William John (Willie)

1960-1967 (Player Details)

Left Back

Born: Johnstone, Lanarkshire: 03-09-1937

Debut v Leyton Orient (h): 07-09-1960

510 11st 8lb (1963)

#66 in 100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever

Bell joined Queens Park from Neilston in 1957 and he rejected an offer from Stoke City, completed an engineering apprenticeship and won two Scottish Amateur caps before taking his chance with Leeds. For the Spiders, Bell scored twice in fifty-four League appearances and also made thirteen Cup appearances. He was a run-of-the-mill left half when he arrived at Elland Road in July 1960. It was not the best of times to start a career at Elland Road, as the club struggled and Bell had difficulty making his mark as a Wing-Half. It was Don Revie that saw the potential in the Scotsman as a full-back, where he could capitalize on his strong tackling, good headwork and a ready appreciation of the tactical drill required in the new United set-up. He was successfully converted into one of the best left backs that the club has ever had. He succeeded Grenville Hair and was an important part of the defence in the early 1960s. His fast raiding down the left flank became essential in the new tactics and there was the added bonus of his ability to chip in with vital goals, but it was his well-timed crosses that provided the ammunition for his forward collegues. Bell won a Second Division Championship Medal in 1963-64 and appeared in the 1965 F.A Cup Final, where he picked up a losers' medal, after Leeds lost in extra-time to Liverpool at Wembley. He was capped twice by Scotland at full international level. At Hampden Park in a 0-1 defeat by Portugal on 18th June 1966 and in a 1-1 draw with Brazil a week later. He was United's regular left-back until his final game for Leeds, against Everton at Goodison Park on 16th September 1967, but with the emergence of Terry Cooper as an international class left-back, the writing was on the wall and he joined Leicester City on 21st September 1967 for 45,000. He was a regular too at Filbert Street and Matt Gillies made him Captain upon his arrival. He made forty-nine League appearances for the Foxes before joining Brighton and Hove Albion in July 1969. where he stayed for a year, scoring once in forty-four League games. Bell had always had an interest in coaching which was first nurtured while at Leeds, when he and Jack Charlton used to coach schoolboys. It was not well paid but it was good experience and Bell retained that interest with other clubs after he left Leeds. His former Leeds team-mate, Freddie Goodwin, knew of his interest in coaching, having also been his Manager at Brighton, and tried to get him to join him at Birmingham City, where he had been appointed Manager in May 1970. It cost him dearly as Bell was under contract to Brighton and Birmingham were fined 5,000. When his contract with Brighton expired in June 1970, he joined Goodwin as his Coach and Assistant at St Andrews. Birmingham had been going through a poor spell and the two ex-Leeds players brought about a change in their fortunes as they piloted them to promotion and to the Semi-Final of the F.A. Cup, where ironically they were beaten by Leeds at Hillsborough in 1972. A tenth place finish in the First Division saw them at their zenith in the 1972-73 season, but it was downhill from there, as they narrowly avoided relegation in both of the next two seasons. A disastrous start to the 1973-74 seasonsaw them languishing at the bottom with just three point in nine games, but they still survived. In the 1974-75 season, they had a good run in the F.A. Cup, being defeated by unfancied Second Division Fulham in extra-time after a replay, in the Semi-Final, but it did not save Goodwin from the sack. Bell was appointed Caretaker-Manager and after a good start he was given the job on a permanently with a two-year contract in October 1975. He immediately appointed Syd Owen as coach, but they still only just managed to avoid relegation in 1975-76. Things improved in 1976-77 but after the Midlanders had lost their first five games of 1977-78 season he was told his contract would not be renewed and Sir Alf Ramsey took over on 5th September 1977. He became Third Division Lincoln City Manager on 21st December 1977. The Imps were in decline after Graham Taylor had set the bar too high before leaving in June 1977. Bell managed to improve the situation at Sincil Bank and took them to sixteenth place at the end of the 1977-78 season. But the next season did not start well with Lincoln bottom of the League with just five points from fourteen games. Bell was sacked on 23rd October 1978. A religious man of conviction, he emigrated to the USA and joined the Campus Crusade for Christ where he also coached the Liberty Baptist College. In 2001, he returned to Yorkshire and continued his work within the UK Prisons.

AppearancesGoals
League 20415
F.A. Cup 241
League Cup 151
Europe 171