Kevin Ball

By Tony Scholes
Last updated : 23 September 2013

Date and Place of Birth

12th November 1964 - HASTINGS

 

Transfers to and from Burnley

from FULHAM - 24th July 2000

released - 23rd April 2002

 

First and Last Burnley Games

BOLTON WANDERERS (a) - 12th August 2000

 

COVENTRY CITY (h) - 21st April 2002

 

Other Clubs

COVENTRY CITY, PORTSMOUTH, SUNDERLAND, FULHAM

 

 

Burnley Career Stats

 

Season League FA Cup League Cup Others Total
                     
  apps gls apps gls apps gls apps gls apps gls
2000/01 40 2 1 - 4 - - - 45 2
2001/02 37(5) - 2 - 1 - - - 40(5) -
                     
Total 77(5) 2 3 - 5 - - - 85(5) 2

 

Profile by Tony Scholes

 

Kevin Ball's playing career came to an abrupt end in the summer of 2002 when he was released by Burnley as the club started to cope with the loss of revenue following the collapse of ITV Digital.

'Bally' had been with the Clarets for two seasons after joining on a free transfer from Fulham and despite that fact that he was 37-years-old it had been expected that he would get a new deal.

His career had started as a teenager with Coventry City but he didn't make the grade at Highfield Road and moved to Portsmouth in the summer of 1982 whilst still 17. It was January 1984 when he made the breakthrough into the first team, appearing at right back in a 2-0 defeat at Shrewsbury.

That was his only appearance that season but he did establish himself in the first team and had made well over a century of appearances for Pompey when he made the move to Sunderland in 1990, signed by former Stoke defender Denis Smith.

Sometimes a move to a new club proves to be just the right one and that was certainly the case here. In almost a decade at Sunderland he became one of the most popular players ever to have worn the red and white striped shirt.

He appeared in their FA Cup Final side of 1992, he captained Sunderland and led them to two promotions into the Premier League, in 1996 and then again in 1999. But after the second of those promotions he lost his place in the side as they took the Premiership by storm and just before Christmas made the decision to leave.

Adored by the crowd at the Stadium of Light, that 1999/2000 season had started with Bally's testimonial against Sampdoria but Christmas was celebrated with the two central midfielders from the promotion team lining up for Fulham.

Lee Clark had left in disgrace during the summer, but Ball left with everyone's blessing and best wishes when he signed for former Sunderland player Paul Bracewell at Craven Cottage.

Things didn't quite work out and Ball spoke out when Bracewell lost his job. It was what you would expect him to do but it cost him his place in the side and when Stan Ternent made his move following our promotion in 2000 he was ready to sign for us for the next two years.

He made the most inglorious of Burnley debuts, that defeat against the Isle of Man during our annual visit to the sunshine island, but once the league season got underway we could see the value of having him in the side.

He turned in some polished performances in the midfield and occasionally played in the centre of defence, the position where he had started his career. Probably if you ask Burnley fans now about him they will recollect that game against Blackburn when he was sent off for a 'challenge' on David Dunn.

Ball himself told the story of his return home that day. He asked his son Luke what he thought, and Luke being dad's biggest fan said he thought his dad had been unlucky. "Another suspension," Bally said to his wife, to which she replied: "You could have been facing a prison sentence for that."

If that was a dark moment, and one of two red cards he received playing for Burnley, there were many brighter moments as he played a leading role in our two failed attempts at relegation.

He admitted to having had more arguments with Stan Ternent than any other manager he'd played for, but Stan told me that Kevin Ball was his best signing for Burnley, that's how much his manager thought of him.

Released at the end of the 2001/02 season he came close to signing for Accrington, but in the end that 1-0 win against Coventry, when a 2-0 win would have seen us in the play offs, proved to be his last game as a professional footballer.

Many at Turf Moor were disappointed to hear of his departure, and not just those on the playing side. He'd left an impression with so many at Burnley, and a good impression at that.

After a short time out of the game he returned to join the coaching staff at Sunderland at a time when Howard Wilkinson and Steve Cotterill were in charge of the team. When they'd gone he was appointed as assistant academy coach but for one short spell he took over as manager following the sacking of Mick McCarthy.

Although Sunderland were relegated (at the end of the 2005/06 season) he wanted the job, and the fans wanted him to have it. But Niall Quinn came in as chairman to replace Bob Murray and instead they went for Roy Keane.

Bally returned to the academy and as part of his duties became youth team coach, In July 2012, after six years in the role, he was promoted to he position of senior professional development coach which included responsibility for the reserves and under-21 teams.

September 2013 brought him another spell as caretaker, this time under the title of interim head coach. It came after the sacking of Paolo Di Canio.

 

Links

New Sunderland role for Bally (04/07/12)

Bally to take charge of televised game (23/09/13)

Burnley Match Reports

Premier League Sat 21st September 14:00

Burnley 2 - 0 Norwich City

Last game - Match Centre


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