Match Preview: Newcastle (H)

Bradford Park Avenue take on Newcastle United in the Donald Bell VC memorial match on Sunday.

It is Avenue’s second warm up game of the summer, but the majority of the attention will be on the anniversary the day marks.

Sunday July 10 2016 is the exact 100 year anniversary of the date Bell was gunned down during the Battle of the Somme.

Just five days earlier he had displayed exceptional valour, earning himself the Victoria Cross and becoming the only professional footballer ever to do so.

More than 30 members of the family of First World War hero Donald Simpson Bell will cheer on his old clubs to mark the 100th anniversary of his death. The match will kick off at 3pm but on-field tributes to Bell will start from 2:30pm.

The occasion will, fittingly, be the first outing for Avenue’s new home strip, designed to honour the team’s gallant predecessor.

There will also be a commemorative, full-colour programme available to buy at just £1.50.

On top of that, the day provides a rare chance to glimpse his actual Victoria Cross, owned by the Professional Footballers’ Association, which is normally housed at the Football Museum in Manchester. They bought it at auction for a record price in 2010.

The club hopes for a strong turn out from supporters of both sides and from the local community, with admission prices reduced to £5 for adults and just £2 for under 18s.

A tall, pacey full-back. Bell played with Bradford Park Avenue from 1912 until November 1914 when he enlisted with the 9th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment (The Green Howards) and went to serve on the front line in the Battle of the Somme.

He had previously played as an amateur with Newcastle United and Crystal Palace, as well as donning the jersey for a string of smaller clubs in earlier years.

You can add yourself to our official Facebook event for the day by clicking here.

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