One of Jim McGuigan's earliest and most inspired signings, Charlie began his career at Sheffield United, signing pro in January 1964  and making three appearances, usually as a forward. He was allowed to join Chesterfield in June 1968 and began playing in midfield and up front before injuries to others led to his claiming the centre-half spot on a permanent basis.

Having found his place, Charlie was put on a weight-training regime to improve his physique for, despite being the right height for a centre-half, he weighed only eleven stone and nine pounds upon signing. Mild-mannered and thoughtful off the pitch, he nevertheless epitomised the determined spirit of the '69-70 championship side when he crossed that white line on a matchday.

He seemed happiest when the team was under sustained pressure: after one such game at Doncaster in `68-9, The Derbyshire Times described him as "the bastion of the sea-blue fortress". For one with such battling qualities, though, Charlie was rarely cautioned. The club eventually replaced Charlie with Eric Winstanley, and offered Bell to Barnsley in part-exchange, but The Tykes rejected him on medical grounds, and his Chesterfield career rather petered out. In January `74, Charlie followed his Manager and mentor McGuigan to Rotherham and, thereafter, Stockport County, to work on the coaching side. After football, Charlie became a Sales Director for a Sheffield-based manufacturer of industrial hygiene products, before retiring in 2011.

For Chesterfield: 149+3 league appearances, 12 goals.