Wigan Warriors: Dean Bell says there was pressure to be successful when he became captain at Central Park

Dean Bell believes he was always destined to become Wigan captain during his time with the club.

By Amos Wynn
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 4:55 am

The former New Zealand international is returning to the town for an exclusive event at the DW Stadium on November 13, where he will reflect on his career and share some untold stories from his time at Central Park during the 80s and 90s.

Bell states there was a bit of pressure on him when he took on the arm band, due to the amount of success Wigan had enjoyed in the years before under the leadership of another legendary figure.

He said: “I think I was always destined to be a captain at some stage, but we had so many good players in front of me.

Dean Bell believes he was destined to become Wigan captain (Credit: Shaun Botterill)

“No one will ever know how anxious I was on my first trip to Wembley as captain, because I followed three years of Ellery (Hanley) lifting the trophy.

“I certainly didn’t want to be the first player following that run not to lift it, but I was lucky enough to do it a couple of more times as well.

“The captaincy was something I was ready for by that time. You lead from the front and lead by example, and hopefully that’s the way I played.

“We had a lot of trust in the team, so there were a lot of things we had in our makeup. It wasn’t to do with money, it was about the desire the team had, as well as the determination and pride.

“No one wanted to be part of that team that wasn’t successful.

“You can say we had a lot of good attacking players, but defensively we are very good as well, and that’s the hard part of the game.

“That’s what I liked about our team, no one wanted to let their teammates down.

“We had some exciting players, but there’s times in games where you’ve got to roll your sleeves up and show some toughness, and that’s where we could depend on each other.

“You can’t buy success. Obviously we had once in a generation players, but you don’t win trophies just with that, you have to earn the right.

“We had good local players who were the solid backbone of the team, it was a really good balance.

“We played against teams who, man for man, were as good as us, but we had that little bit extra to win those tough games. I suppose that’s what built the legacy.

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“The expectation was, if you came into our team then you did your job and you did it well. We made sure that people realised that just signing for Wigan was not enough, it’s more than that.”

Bell is excited to reunite with some Wigan fans at his show later this year.

“I haven’t been over for a few years, so I thought now is the time. I’ve got plenty of experiences to discuss,” he added.

“I’ll be talking about things that I haven’t really spoken about before, like who I think is the greatest of all time. There’s plenty of humorous stories, and I’m really looking forward to it.”