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Jimmy Bell death: who was Rangers kit man, what age was he when he died, and tributes from Rangers FC

Rangers club legend Jimmy Bell dies overnight at the age of 69.

Rangers have recently lost their beloved kit man Jimmy Bell, who died at the age of 69. He had been a presence at the Ibrox club for over 30 years and had long been considered a vital member of the club.

Bell continued to be part of the Rangers staff during their nine titles in a row and UEFA Cup final run as well as their period in administration, bottom-tier football era and return to the Scottish Premiership.

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What have Rangers FC said?

The club chairman Douglas Park released a statement saying: “As a club, we are absolutely devastated to learn of the loss of our colleague and more importantly, our dear friend Jimmy Bell.

“Jimmy dedicated his life to Rangers Football Club. Having worked under managers from Grame Souness through to Giovanni (van Bronckhorst), he experienced some of the greatest days in our 150-year history. Of course, he was here during some of the lowest points, and showed selfless dedication, regardless of the challenge ahead of him.

“Jimmy’s work ethic was second to nine. He dedicated countless hours to preparation for each training session and game. No job was too big or too small for him and he thrived on working for his boyhood club.

“I spoke with Jimmy regularly, having known him from his time as a mechanic and bus driver at Park’s.

“He was excited for Thursday night’s game at Ibrox, particularly having experienced a European semi-final before under Walter Smith.

“Rangers, and Scottish football as a whole have lost a legend and a friend today. He was a family man, a devoted father, grandfather and husband. Jimmy will be sorely missed and I send our heartfelt condolences to the entire Bell family at this difficult time on behalf of Rangers Football club.”

Who was Jimmy Bell?

Bell started his career at Rangers driving the team buses to matches across the country before moving to the position he had when he died as the first team’s kit manager.

He was also a mechanic during his time as the team’s bus driver.

Having been at the club for over 30 years, he had a strong presence within the dressing room with former manager Steven Gerrard even referring to Bell as the ‘boss’.

Jimmy celebrates his team’s winning of the league

When asked if Rangers would continue to wear a red shirt when they had enjoyed good results, Gerrard replied: “I don’t decided what kit we wear but I can drag Jimmy Bell in if you want to ask him. He is the boss around here, not me.”

The club’s current manager van Bronckhorst also noted the presence of Bell when he joined the Ibrox side as their boss this season.

Speaking to Rangers TV, the Dutch former footballer said: “It’s always good to come into a place where you already know some people.

“So for me Jimmy Bell is a special person because in the first days of my time at Rangers I couldn’t have met such a true Scotsman from the beginning.

“It was very difficult to understand him but for me he is one of the pillars of what the Rangers identity is so it’s good to see that Jimmy has been at the club for many years and I’m looking forward to see him again.

“I’ll probably understand him much better than my first time!”

What have fans said?

Tributes have been flooding in after the news was announced via the Rangers Club website.

One fan @SeafarerMichael said : “Jimmy Bell’s 41 year association with The Rangers. From joining the club as coach driver and mechanic in 1981 to the dug out alongside the likes of Souness, Smith, McLeith etc

“His standards, traditions and superstitions are the epitome of a Ranger.”

Another, @Sports_EmmaD said: “Rest In Peace Jimmy Bell. A real character and legend at the club.

“Genuinely shocked to hear the news this morning.”

When is Rangers next game?

Bell will undoubtedly be remembered as Rangers host RB Leipzig in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League semi final match on Thursday 5 May 2022 at 8pm BST at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow.

The match will be available to watch on BT Sport.