Looking back on Micky Bell's spell in charge of Clevedon Town

Clevedon Town chairman Brian Rose presents manager Micky Bell with a glass tankard to mark his 500 g

Clevedon Town chairman Brian Rose presents manager Micky Bell with a glass tankard to mark his 500 games in charge - Credit: pitchero.com/clubs/clevedontown

Longevity has certainly been a feature of Micky Bell’s football career.

After making 600 appearances as a player including nearly 350 for Bristol City, Bell joined Clevedon Town for the start of the 2010/11 season.

He faced a major rebuilding job after the club had been relegated from the Southern League Premier Division the previous season.

His first competitive victory was a 6-0 win in the FA Cup at Bridport, and he kept the team out of the relegation places in 20th and took them to the Somerset Premier Cup semi-finals.

The following season the team again finished 20th well clear of any danger of relegation and Micky masterminded his first trophy for the club and almost ended with a cup double.

Although they lost to Weston AFC in the Somerset Premier Cup Final, five victories took them to the two-legged final of the Southern League Red Insure Cup. Despite a goalless home draw, they produced a memorable performance at Premier Division Banbury United to win 2-1.

Bell left in January 2014 and had short spells coaching at Mangotsfield, and as manager at Weston, but he returned home in July 2015, with the club in even worse trouble than before.

Clevedon Town's Micky Bell and Alex White look on during their friendly win over Wellington

Clevedon Town's Micky Bell and Alex White look on during their friendly win over Wellington - Credit: pitchero.com/clubs/clevedontown

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Thrown out of the Southern League due to the defective floodlights, locked out the ground and with no players it was enough to put anybody off.

To his credit Bell showed true north-east grit, rolled up his sleeves and started with the club’s under-18 players in the Toolstation Premier Division.

Despite the loss of the first 10 games, Bell gradually turned things around with a point a game in the last 16 games, including a vital 1-0 home win in a key relegation battle against Welton Rovers and he achieved mission impossible.

Callum Kingdon, Winterbourne, Syd Camper and Glen Hayer remain key players from this period.

But the greatest achievement of Bell's Clevedon career is the way younger players were nurtured in the Somerset Floodlit under-18 league with the help of coaches Alex White, Ash Nevins, Ryan King and Dave Harvey and the way he has been brave enough to give young players a chance in senior football.

It was 2017/18 when the effects really began to show, and Bell was able to field a young team based on merit rather than necessity and in turn improve the club’s position in the table to 12th.

Bell's contacts with Bristol City also produced a real find when a raw Saikou Janneh joined on loan and notched up eight goals in 13 games and has since gone on to make his first team debut for the Championship side.

But it was the continuous improvement of the under-18 side which took the eye with a record-breaking run to the Third Round Proper of the FA Youth and a fantastic night at a packed Everyone Active Stadium against the million-pound superstar youngsters of Manchester City.

Last season saw the pandemic result in only 13 league games with Clevedon well placed in fourth when the season was declared null and void.

But the FA Vase continued, and Micky guided the team to its best run in the competition since 1992 and a narrow fourth round defeat against runaway Toolstation Western League leaders Plymouth Parkway.

Micky Bell managed Clevedon Town 525 times over the course of two spells with the Seasiders.

Micky Bell managed Clevedon Town 525 times over the course of two spells with the Seasiders. - Credit: pitchero.com/clubs/clevedontown

Bell leaves Clevedon after 525 games in charge to become Bristol City's Professional Development Phase coach, but his legacy is assured and will always be part of the Seasider's illustrious history.

Clevedon Chairman Brian Rose said: "Well done Micky - thanks for all your efforts which saved the club and established a great future. Best of luck in your new role at Bristol City and come back to see us whenever you can."

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