Player of the Day: Kevin Ball

by Stuart Vose

Ball in the spotlight -14 years to the day since his final game for the club.

One of the finest leaders ever to pull on the red and white stripes, Kevin Ball sits 12th on the club’s all-time appearance list having played 388 times for the Black Cats.

He has served the club as a player, coach and caretaker manager/head coach and remains on Wearside in his current role as senior professional development coach within the club’s Academy.

Ball, who was deployed variously as a centre-back and a ball-winning central midfielder, was released by Coventry City as a youngster but bounced back on the south coast with Portsmouth, spending nearly eight years with the Fratton Park club.

Having made 128 appearances for Pompey, Ball joined Sunderland for £350,000 in July 1990 – a fee which turned out to be a real bargain.

As well as his incredible tally of appearances, Ball was known for popping up with important goals, finding the back of the net 28 times whilst with the Black Cats.

He debuted against Tottenham Hotspur and would go on to captain the club with distinction, winning the First Division (now Championship) title in 1995-96 and 1998-99.

Ball also captured the club’s Player of the Year award at the end of the 1996-97 campaign.

His final appearance for the club came 14 years ago today in a 3-2 win at Watford prior to a move to Fulham, where he would make 20 appearances.

Ball finished an illustrious playing career at Burnley, joining the Clarets in July 2000 and going on to become a firm favourite at Turf Moor.

All in all, he made 630 career appearances, scoring 34 goals.

He returned to the club as a coach in February 2003, joining the Academy staff. He has remained at the club ever since in a number of roles, including coaching the under-18 side.

He spent 10 games in caretaker charge of the first team following the departure of Mick McCarthy and reprised the role earlier in the current season prior to the appointment of Gus Poyet.