Former Portsmouth hopeful Charlie Bell makes Moneyfields his third club in as many weeks after stints at Bognor and Horsham
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The 19-year-old attacking midfielder trained for the first time with the Wessex League club at the Goals centre last night.
He goes straight into the squad for tomorrow’s Portsea Island derby at US Portsmouth, though could well start on the bench.
Bell left Bognor Regis at the end of last month, joining Isthmian Premier Division rivals Horsham on non-contract terms. But after only one appearance, he informed boss Dom Di Paola of his departure.
Di Paola told The News: ‘It was not really through our choice, Charlie said he wants to play locally.’
‘I’ve known Charlie virtually all his life,’ said Turnbull. ‘His parents are good friends with myself and my wife - he only lives about 10 doors down from me!’
Other Wessex Premier clubs were reportedly interested in signing Bell, who was released by Pompey at the end of the 2020/21 season as part of a controversial Academy clear-out.
‘I knew Charlie was unhappy at Horsham but I didn’t think he was one who I could get.
‘Other clubs stalled, and I just asked him if he fancied it.
‘A few clubs had shown interest - they will probably tell you Charlie contacted them, Charlie would say they were all over him, the truth is in there somewhere.
‘I think it’s a bit of a coup for us, other people might not think so. Charlie has indicated he just wants to play.
‘If he does half as well as Brett Pitman has done at Portchester, I’m not naive enough to think bigger clubs would be looking at him.
‘If in six weeks a Gosport or a Chichester were to offer him a better deal, he’d go with my best wishes having improved us as a team.’
Bell arrives at Moneyfields with attacking midfielder James Franklyn having suffered a recurrence of the groin injury that sidelined him for the last few months of 2021/22.
Franklyn came off with the problem during last week’s Wessex Premier win at Pagham, and is a big doubt for the derby with former club USP tomorrow.
‘Charlie could play in the Franko role, as a No 10, that’s his best position,’ said Turnbull. ‘He could play either side of that (in an attacking three behind a central striker) or he could play central midfield.’
Moneys have won just two of their last eight league and cup games, losing the other six and exiting both the FA Vase and Wessex League Cup to lower division clubs.
‘’(Signing Bell) is an injection of a feelgood factor, that we need,’ Turnbull continued.
Bell featured three times for Pompey in the 2020-21 campaign, catching the eye in the Papa John’s Trophy fixtures under Kenny Jackett.
And Horsham boss Di Paola hopes he can now flourish at Moneys, who play in the ninth tier of English football.
He added: ‘Hopefully Charlie will get himself on track, he seems like a nice lad.
‘There's a player in there, he’s had some rejection and some disappointment at Pompey – and then went to Bognor and also had some disappointment and some rejection.
‘Sometimes they just need to get themselves on track. It doesn’t mean it’s the end for him, it just means he’s got to kickstart himself back into life and get himself going.
‘It has obviously not happened for him at Horsham and Bognor, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end.’