Blow for Ireland as Bell leaves national team head coach role to take up position with Huddersfield Town

Sat, Jun 29 2019

Colin Bell departs Ireland Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

Head Coach Colin Bell is leaving his position with the Republic of Ireland women's national team to take up the role of assistant to new Huddersfield Town boss Jan Siewert.

The Englishman sent text messages to senior players on Thursday evening informing them of his departure to take up a role with the English Championship side and the FAI formally announced his departure on Saturday morning. 

Bell stepped down as coach of the Ireland under-17s team earlier this month, however his departure has come as a shock to many who expected him to focus fully on the senior team job.

Ireland have been drawn alongside Germany, Ukraine, Greece and Montenegro in qualifying for the 2021 European Championships, which will be hosted by England.

He was expected to continue the progress of a World Cup qualifying campaign in which Ireland finished third behind Norway and the Netherlands, both of whom reached the quarter-finals in France.

FAI President Donal Conway in the FAI statement said that “it has been a pleasure to work with Colin over the last two years and we are very disappointed to lose him. However, I can understand why a top club in England would want him and Colin has decided that this is the right move for him at this time.”

Siewery vacated his post as Borussia Dortmund under-23 manager to take up the head coach role at relegated Huddersfield following the resignation of David Wagner.

Wagner, himself a former Dortmund under-23 manager, vacated his post after leading the Yorkshire team to the Premier League for the first time in 2017 and consolidating their place the following year.

Siewert previously worked with Bell at German side TuS Koblenz when, as a 25-year-old novice, the former joined the staff where Bell was a youth coach.

Bell had managed the Rhineland club between 1989 and 1996 before returning in a development position ten years later.

He moved into women’s football with SC Bad Neuenahr before taking over at Frankfurt, whom he guided to league and Champions League titles, before enjoying spells with Avaldsnes and Sand.

He was headhunted from Sand, where he coached Ireland defender Diane Caldwell, to take over the FAI’s national team in 2017.

FAI High Performance Director Ruud Dokter paid tribute to Colin Bell’s work with the Irish squad saying he “has done a fantastic job”.

“The World Cup qualifying campaign saw him bed in his ideas very quickly and the players responded with high level performances. His passion, commitment and desire to develop women’s football in Ireland was exemplary and I wish him well at Huddersfield.”

Bell took charge of 22 games in total as Ireland manager, winning nine, drawing four and losing nine, and guiding the team to a fourth-placed finish at the 2017 Cyprus Cup. 

FAI General Manager for Football Services and Partnerships Noel Mooney said: “Colin did extremely well with the Women's National Team and while we didn't want to see him go. We will now commence the process of finding a top-class Head Coach to replace Colin ahead of the European Championship qualifying games which kick-off in the autumn.”