Alan Ball with his MBE
Alan Ball was born at Farnworth in Lancashire, in 1945. As a 17-year-old, he joined Blackpool (after being rejected by Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bolton) and scored 41 goals in 116 league appearances for the club.
In 1965, Ball won an England cap against Yugoslavia and, the following year, played in the World Cup final at Wembley. He was the youngest player in the England team, and many believe that England beat West Germany because of Alan Ball's contribution in the match. Indeed, he was made 'Man of the Match' for his performance.
In August 1966, Ball moved to Everton for a record fee of £110,000. He played 208 games for Everton, scoring 66 goals for them. In 1971, Ball was transferred to Arsenal for another record fee (£220,000) and scored 45 times in 177 appearances.
Ball was captain of the England team in the last of his 72 internationals. In total, he scored 8 times for England.
Between 1976 and his retirement as a player in 1983, Ball had spells with Southampton, Blackpool and Bristol Rovers. In 1984 he became the manager of Portsmouth, later doing a similar job at Stoke, Blackpool, Southampton, Exeter and Manchester City. His final club as manager was again Portsmouth, but he was sacked in 1999 and retired to Hampshire where he lived with his family.
I met Alan Ball at the NEC in November 2005. He signed my England football shirt and my copy of his autobiography Playing Extra Time.
I was pleased that I was able to meet this England football star when I did because he sadly died in April 2007.
Playing Extra Time
Alan Ball, Bobby Charlton & Bobby
Moore after England's World Cup win
Alan Ball signing my copy of his autobiography
Ball sold his World Cup winner's medal, also his England cap, in 2005 raising £140,000 which he gave to his family.
Alan Ball's hard-hitting autobiography Playing Extra Time was published in 2004
In 2000, Alan Ball was awarded the MBE for services to football.
Alan Ball playing for Arsenal (left) and Southampton (right)
Alan Ball plays for England in 1965
Alan Ball with Blackpool in 1962
Alan Ball died on 25th April 2007, trying to put out a fire in his garden. His funeral service was held in Winchester Cathedral, and attended by many of his colleagues from the world of football.
Alan Ball (1947 - 2007)
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