Inside forward Ernie Bell was born in Hull and joined the Tigers as a teenager, turning professional when he turned 17 and making his first team debut when he was 18. He was given his debut by newly installed manager Ernest Blackburn in his first match in charge, and Bell rewarded the gaffer by scoring his first City goal the week before Christmas 1936 when he netted the fourth strike in a 5-2 win over Tranmere (Tynesider Jerry Best scored the other four). For the next four months Bell vied with Welshman William Tabram for the inside right shirt and looked set for greater things in 1937/38 season. However the close season signing of Jack Fryer, who had previously played for manager Blackburn when he was in charge at Wrexham, hampered Bell’s game time and only in March and April 1928 did he get a run of starts, scoring his last goal for the Tigers in mid-March in a 1-1 draw against Rotherham.
In May 1938 Bell signed for Mansfield Town where he made 28 starts in his inaugural season. However the advent of World War Two curtailed the 1939/40 season after only two expunged games and his time at Field Mill quickly drew to a close. Bell was a prisoner of war in Germany and Poland for four years during WW2 and played football for a Prisoners XI. Once repatriated Bell played wartime fixtures for Grimsby and Aldershot as well as 26 games for Hull City in 1944/45. When the Football League returned in August 1946 Bell re-signed for the Tigers and played in the inaugural game at City’s new Boothferry Park home. However new boss Frank Buckley used Ernie irregularly in that return season and he scored his only goal of the season and final goal for the club in his last appearance, a 1-0 May 1947 win over Tranmere – the same side against which he opened his City account 11 years previously.
Bell joined Scarborough Town in July 1947 and went on to play for the East Coast side for several seasons, then served Hessle Old Boys. He became a civil servant for the Inland Revenue and resided in Hull for the rest of his life, dying at the tragically young age of 50 in December 1968. Ernie’s son worked for several years for Hull City during the early years of the KCOM Stadium.
Date/Place of Birth: 22 July 1918, Hull
Hull City First Game: 5 December 1936, Hartlepools United H (Division Three North), 18 years, 136 days old
Hull City Final Game: 10 May 1947, Tranmere Rovers H (Division Three North), 28 years, 292 days old
Hull City (1935-1938), Mansfield Town (1938-1939), Hull City (1946-1947), Scarborough (1947-1951)
Hull City Record
Career: 28 apps, 5 goalsErnie Bell