Former Port Vale Chairman, Bill Bell died yesterday after a battle with cancer. It is ironic that he should pass away just when his old club looks set to have a period of success. Under Bell's stewardship, Vale rose to the top echelons of League 1 (now Championship), with manager John Rudge getting the best from a good group of players.
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Vale had some real stars in th 80s and 90s that included the likes of Robbie Earle, the Chamberlain brothers, and Darren Beckford.
Bell had a number of local businesses and only recently visited the club to meet Vale's new owners.
Vale's long standing club secretary, Bill Lodey said:
'Bill Bell was a lovely man and will always be remembered with real affection by Vale supporters.'
"I am very sad to hear of his passing," said John Rudge, "and my thoughts go out to his family at this sad time."
Rudge, was served under Bell for 12 years, said they shared great times as chairman and manager during Vale's heyday in the 1990s.
They twice won promotion together to what is now the Championship, while the club also travelled to Wembley three times in various competitions.
"We had some fantastic success during that time," Rudge added, "and obviously as chairman he was very much a part of that. They were great years for Port Vale Football Club."
Current chairman Paul Wildes Tweeted: "Very sad news that former chairman Bill Bell has passed away. I have some big shoes to fill and hope to do him proud over the coming years."
Flags will be lowered to half mast and Vale players will wear black armbands when they play Morecambe at Vale Park on Saturday.
Fans paid their own respects when the official supporters' club staged a minute's applause at their annual meeting last night.