Jimmy Bell, a stand-off, signed for Featherstone Rovers from junior rugby and made his debut against Hull KR in September 1937. With competition for the number six shirt from Ray Hamer and Bill Hughes, he was limited to just four appearances with the first team. Although his impact as a player wasn’t enormous, Jimmy’s lasting legacy to the Rovers’ cause came in the shape of his four sons, all of whom made the grade at Post Office Road. He was also club groundsman for a number of years.
Jimmy’s eldest son Roy, also a stand-off, was recruited from a fine vintage of junior players in 1957 at the same time as Terry Clawson and Malcolm Dixon. He made his debut against Doncaster in November that year, and marked the occasion with two tries. Over the next four seasons he challenged the incomparable Joe Mullaney for a place in the team, and managed 40 games and scored 15 tries. Inevitably he became frustrated with the lack of first team opportunities, and when he was sold to Wakefield in February 1961 Rovers received a then record fee of £3,000.
In March 1964 versatile half –back Peter Bell made his debut against Dewsbury, deputising for Ivor Lingard. He went on to play 23 games over the following four seasons. Two years later his brother John Bell, a centre, broke into the first team. John went on to play 20 senior games over five seasons from 1965 to 1970. Towards the end of the 1965/66 John and Peter played a few games together in the first team, with Peter at stand-off and John at centre.
In 1971, Jimmy’s youngest son Keith signed for Rovers. Initially a hooker, he was understudy to Keith Bridges, but he gradually established himself in a formidable pack as a ball-handling loose forward. Keith went on to become one of Rovers most faithful players, playing in an incredible 19 seasons. He was awarded a benefit season in 1984/5 which coincided unfortunately with the miners’ strike. His final tally of 417 games has been bettered by only three other players in the history of the club. With his crafty ball distribution, and useful drop goals (66 in his career)Keith played under a long succession of coaches, picking up Cup and championship winners medals along the way. After finishing at Rovers in 1990 he played a couple of years at Hunslet before hanging up his boots at the age of 39. Since then he has been involved with coaching at Featherstone Lions.