Ok, as usual I have to learn things the hard way.
From what I see so far, you are right, which has cost me time fixing the transistor on the board a second time.
So I ran through some test procedures for coils and diodes on I found online and compared readings to that of others and the diode was in fact bad, the coil was good.
So I added a new diode, band toward the hot side (or at least I think so, 2 largers orange/reddish wires, other end is back with faint white stripes). A 1n4004.
It was also wired this way when I bought it, although the soldering job didn't inspire confidence.
Now a new problem, the bell works, but now other coils set each other off. So each time you fire one (including flippers) most if not all go off, so it kicks in more balls, rings bell etc. If I disconnect the bell coil, all is well.
In the diagram here it shows the unbanded side on the hot.
So maybe i'm wrong and it was wrong to begin with?
Well, my lack of patience took over, I reversed the diode, blew the transistor.
Thankfully I buy things in packs of 10.