Kevin Ball Sunderland LegendTough going this close season malarkey, another week or so till match previews etc kick in. We’ve not even got the excitement of potential signings, as the verdict seems to be, “we’ve got no money to spend and all offers for players are welcome?” Im passing the time with a look back at prominent players from the past – Instalment 3 Kevin Ball Sunderland Legend.
Kevin BallAfter the Marco and MacPhail years of short shorts, there was a surplus of white shorts fabric? (I certainly not brave enough to suggest it looks like he’s wearing a skirt??)
Kevin Ball 9 years a Sunderland PlayerLooking back, Denis Smith certainly had an eye for a player? Loads of good signings in the first few years and in 1990, Ball was a worthy addition to that list. Kevin had 9 years as a player at Sunderland, making 388 appearances and scoring 25 goals, that fact that his two Player Of The Year awards were 6 years apart, (1991 &1997), is testament to how good he was for how long. He left for Fulham in 1999 and after a stint at Burnley, he hung his boots up in 2002. In years since, Quinn, Phillips & Defoe, (all of whom have been round the block), have all waxed lyrical about falling in love with Sunderland. It seems it was no different for Bally?
Sunderland AFC….. “you can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave???”
“I’ll be back…..”
Kevin Ball Caretaker ManagerWhilst 388 games is hugely impressive, that’s only part of the story of Kevin Ball at Sunderland. He’s had 2 stints as Caretaker Manager, in 2006 & 2013, on both occasions helping to steady a ship that was far from sailing on the calm.
Academy Of LightKevin Ball is currently involved with the younger players at the Academy of Light, (which can only be a good thing in terms of discipline, positive role model etc?). Whilst football remains the best game in the world…. modern times are a challenge….. social media, daft haircuts, agent power, silly celebrations, non black boots etc etc. Kevin Ball is a perfect example of a great footballing man. Anyone who listens to the excellent UNDR THE COSH Podcast, (basically ex players sharing stories with no holds barred), will have heard Ball mentioned lots of times. Ex players are often asked about key players from their careers, whilst Whitehurst & Hartford always get mentioned as the hardest, Bullard & Gazza as being mad as a box of frogs, Clough as a legend, Kevin Blackwell as an absolute weapon etc….. It’s notable how often Kevin Ball is mentioned in the category of best leader, ultimate pro, all round top bloke etc. There’s no higher praise, than praise from your peers? It would be inaccurate to say I know him, but I feel like I do….. He always says hello, loves to chat all things SAFC, happy to have photos, engages with my kids, shakes my hand – I guess the reality is he’s just the same as the many thousands who loved watching him play?
Kevin Ball, (right), SUNDERLAND LEGEND.FTM