England men’s team John Bell retires after 20 years

BJohn Bell has announced his retirement as Bowls England Men’s Senior International Team Manager after almost two decades of loyal and dedicated service.

Bell was appointed Men’s International Team Manager in 2000, a position he held for 17 BIBC Series’, four World Championships, and two Atlantic Championships, in addition to the position of Performance Director at three Commonwealth Games and one Atlantic Championships.

Under Bell’s guidance at world level, England attained an impressive 371 victories from 522 matches at a win rate of 71%, achieving 39 medals in the process, including 14 at the Commonwealth Games.

Announcing his retirement, Bell said: “It is with somewhat of a heavy heart that I announce my retirement from the position as the Men’s Senior England Team Manager. There are a number of reasons for this decision but suffice it to say after 20 years as a Team Manager and Performance Director I feel the time is right to step aside.

“I would like to think that during my period of office I have done my utmost to ensure our England teams performed to the best of their abilities and enhanced their reputation, and that of Bowls England, on the world stage. I am also proud that the conduct of our England teams both on and off the greens has been exemplary.

“I fully support the appointment of a permanent Performance Director, who will herald the introduction of a new structure to support and hopefully enhance international performance. My retirement will enable the Performance Director to commence their duties with a clean slate with a new support team going forward. They have my full support.

“I have been fortunate to have had the benefit of the assistance and friendship of many talented colleagues who I sincerely thank. To Tony Allcock and everyone in the Bowls England office, my fellow selectors, members of my Commonwealth Games management teams, to the incredibly supportive Norma Hazzledine, who was fully committed to the cause of improving England’s international performance, and to Rex Hazeldine too for his encouragement and his professionalism which inspired us all – I thank you. 

“I will also thank my supporter in chief – Mrs Bell – over a glass of red, or possibly two, and a nostalgic curry at the Paprika Club!

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure as Bowls England Manager and as Commonwealth Games Performance Director. It has been a pleasure and a privilege undertaking my role and I hope I have contributed to a positive and successful chapter in the performance of England teams at world and international events. 

“I wish Bowls England every success in its future efforts to achieve further glory at international level.”

Bowls England Chief Executive, Tony Allcock MBE, added: “John’s commitment to Bowls England and the English Bowling Association over the past two decades has been exemplary. He has ensured that England is a force to be reckoned with at an international level and his record speaks for itself. John has been a credit to work with and will certainly be a tough act to follow.”

Bowls England thanked John for his dedication both to his country and the sport of bowls.

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