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Last Updated: Friday, 31 December, 2004, 10:10 GMT
Man City legend Bell gets MBE
Colin Bell
Manchester City legend Colin Bell has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List.

The 58-year-old, who won 48 England caps, received the honour for services to the community over four decades.

Bell has worked tirelessly on behalf of numerous charities since retiring from playing football at the early age of 29 with a knee injury.

"When the letter came a couple of weeks ago I couldn't believe it," he told the Manchester Evening News.

"I had to read it twice, then ask my wife to do so again. It is something you never expect to happen."

Bell joined City from Bury in 1966 for 45,000, and played for the club until 1979.

A classy midfield player, Bell was so popular at Maine Road that when the club moved into their new stadium at Eastlands, one of the stands was named The Colin Bell Stand.

The man who signed him from Bury in 1966, Joe Mercer, is the other person to have a stand named after him at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Colin Bell
Bell won an array of trophies with Manchester City

At City Bell won the League Championship, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners Cup, all in the space of three years.

Bell said: "Those who watched me play know that I am not an over emotional person, my goal celebrations were always low key, but this honour has really moved me and put the seal on a wonderful few years.

"First of all I was named in the greatest 100 players of the last century, then inducted into the City Hall of Fame and had the stand named after me and now this. It is incredible, almost unbelievable.

"I owe it all to football really, football and my family. I am just an ordinary lad, a miner's son and even now I can't quite understand it when fans are nervous of meeting me.

"I am sure the City supporters have had something to do with me receiving this MBE.

"They have never ever stopped backing me or forgotten me and that's incredible when you consider it is 25 years ago since I stopped playing.

"City as a club have always been known for their charity work and I have simply carried that on by running marathons and playing in fund-raising tennis and golf tournaments.

"You don't do those things for a reward but because the causes are just and I will be carrying on doing what I can when I can."

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