Former Port Vale chairman Bill Bell dies after long illness
JOHN Rudge has led the tributes to former Port Vale chairman Bill Bell following news of his death this afternoon at the age of 81.
Mr Bell, who was chairman of Vale between 1987 and 2002, passed away after a long illness.
"I am very sad to hear of his passing," said 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.
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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 this afternoon: "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.
And fans will pay their own respects tonight when the official supporters' club is expected to stage a minute's applause at their annual meeting.