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  • Writer's pictureJake Blackwood

Amari'i Bell, the Hatters unsung Hero

Following a very successful season and play-off campaign, Luton Town finished third and dispatched both Sunderland and Coventry City to achieve Premier League status for the 23/34 season! Upon securing promotion, there has been lots of coverage around the Hatters players, with fan favourite Tom Lockyer (who unfortunately collapsed 8 minutes into the playoff final) and top goal scorer Carlton Morris soaking up the lime light, but today I want to touch upon an unsung hero for Luton this season - Amari'i Bell.


Amari'i Bell has been the unsung hero at Kenilworth Road this season | Photo courtesy of Gareth Owen


The Jamaican International was picked up by the Hatters on a free transfer ahead of the 21/22 season from Blackburn Rovers where he seemed a bit unloved and was the recipient of harsh criticism from the Rovers fanbase. However, the Hatters recruitment and coaching team showed how efficient and spot on they are yet again by finding another phenomenal player lacking confidence and got the best out of them and their abilities where others wouldn't have given them a shot. Since working on Bells' weaknesses, he has excelled massively and featured in back to back seasons with play-off finishes at Luton and has reaped the rewards as he is now a Premier League defender!


Bell certainly played his part in both campaigns as he featured in 43 games last season, starting in 42 of them, 2 of which were against Huddersfield in last seasons Play-off semi final. The Hatters and Bell went one step further this season as he appeared in 47 matches, starting 46 of them as the Hatters went the full way, getting promoted - Bell only missed 2 games - one due to suspension and the other as he was given a deserved rest before the all-important Play-offs. He was even capped by the Reggae Boys during the season as he took on one of the greatest players of all time, Lionel Messi in an International friendly back in October as they faced Argentina, as a warm up prior to their World Cup triumph.


It seems Bell goes slightly under the radar as he sits in a back three next to fan favourite Tom Lockyer and on the opposite side to Gabe Osho, who has had a full redemption arc, scoring against Watford on derby day after being given his marching orders in the reverse fixture, as well as opening the scoring in the second leg of the playoff semi final. Regardless of this, Bell has stepped up on multiple occasions both last season and this season, when Osho, Burke or Bradley were out injured. This season in particular he has replaced last season's player of the season Kal Naismith, where many Luton fans (Bristol City fans) thought we would struggle in his absence. His performances have ultimately made him undroppable and he is expected to continue to be a key player as Luton play Premier League football from August.


Admirably, Bell has actually played out of position all season operating as a left-sided centre-back in a back five. In the 21/22 campaign, he played at wing back and he would often drive forward the Hatters' attacks with great pace, and since moving to centre back, although he has had to do that rarely, it is always great to see him go forward as he causes defenders bother with his incisive underlaps, and creates a threat as we've seen so many times this season. Along with this, he has been defensively sound in a position that's new to him, often winning the ball back through interceptions, and starting counterattacks, his pace has offered reassurance as the last defender and he has looked calm and composed on the ball throughout.


Since the Play-off final Bell has come out and expressed his thanks to the Luton supporters and our team at Oak Road Hatter personally:


He has also recently been selected in the 2023 CONCAF Golf Cup Provisional Squad List for Jamaica.


Speaking to the Luton News, Bell said he believes that Kenilworth Road will be a daunting place for the likes of Man City and the rest of the Big 6 to come next season, stating:

"You go there not in the right mind frame and you can't wait to leave". when talking from an opposition's perspective!

In addition to all the above, if he wasn't already an unsung hero, how about this for a stat. Bell scored the winning goal in the non-league campaign for Kidderminster Harriers against Cambridge United which confirmed Luton Town's promotion back to league 2 in the 2013/14 season.


Overall, this has been an excellent season for the defender and hopefully he can add to it and perform on the big stage next season!


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1 Comment


Guest
Jun 07, 2023

i don’t think he’s played out of position this season. he’s finally found his best position.

For me. He’s a left side centre back all day every day. Much better there than left wing back. Bell is a player I struggled to warm to last season because I don’t think wing back is his strength. I’ve loved watching him grow this season. Definitely agree he‘s been an unsung hero. One of the best players in our squad! Thanks Bell!

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