Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria born winger Dr John Bell began his football career with Scottish amateur club Queen’s Park in 1918, making his Scottish League debut in a 3-2 victory over Hamilton Academical that August. A prolific goalscorer, he scored 40 goals in 64 appearances for The Spiders including three hat-tricks in 1919-20 against Ayr United, Raith Rovers and Dundee.
He joined First Division Chelsea in the 1920 close season, still an amateur, making his Football League debut at Manchester United, scoring in a 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford, and turned professional the following season. He scored 10 goals in 45 appearances over three seasons at Stamford Bridge before joining Hamilton Academical in 1923. He had a single season at Hamilton before joining Cowdenbeath in 1924 as the club entered the top flight in the Scottish League for the first time, where he finished his playing career.
NB in the photograph taken at Stamford Bridge on 16th October 1920 prior to Chelsea’s match against Tottenham Hotspur, King George V is introduced to the Chelsea team and shakes hands with Dr John Bell. It is hard to identify other players. The player in the foreground with high collar looking at the King appears to be goalkeeper Jimmy Molyneux. The player between Molyneux and Bell with arms folded appears to be Kenny Sharp. The player the other side of Bell appears to be Wally Bettridge, and the player with shoulders forward immediately to the right of the King’s bowler hat could be Bobby McNeil. Tottenham won the match 4-0.