by   |   28/05/2024  33 Comments  [Jump to last]

This guy encapsulated us and the dickheads in so-called charge of us throughout my life.

We now need to hear his voice like never before! 

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Peter Mills
1 Posted 28/05/2024 at 17:35:18
Thanks for posting this, Don. What a player.
David Currie
2 Posted 28/05/2024 at 20:25:20
Don, Thanks that was a Great watch, what a player Ball was and a real Winner!! Wish I could have seen that 1970 side.
Danny O’Neill
3 Posted 28/05/2024 at 20:46:18
Great stuff Don, thanks for sharing.

I like his comments about being told he was too small.

My dad always made a point of us watching Southampton when they were on Match of the Day.

I was a 6 foot centre back, but when I was coaching at youth level, I got frustrated with other coaches who where obsessed with size and power.

I remain convinced Messi would never have been given a chance in England.

I like to look at ability on the ball as Alan says.

I always remember driving home the night his dad died in a car crash and listening to him on the radio. Very emotional.

Dave Abrahams
4 Posted 28/05/2024 at 20:53:19
Loved Bally, how couldn’t you! but he told it like it was when talked about his move to Arsenal, Catterick said “ I bought you for£110,000, I’ve had six fantastic years out of you and I’ve had on offer and agreed to sell you for twice that fee”

Everton got the best out of that deal, he’d had a bad few months after coming back from the World Cup, he’d upset his teammates in training, argued the toss with Catterick. He did okay with Arsenal but he was as ever good for them as he was for us, they did the same as Everton did got a few good years out of him then sold him on to Southampton while he was still worth a good fee.

Business as Catterick saw it and possibly Alan did himself when he looked back at his career.

Best of all was the brilliant memories he left us Bluenoses with that linger long in the memory, fantastic skill, fought for every ball, argued with opponents, his own players, referees and we loved him for it, missed him when he went with loads of “ what might have beens”.

We’ll ever know— He played for us, left his mark and will never be forgotten by those of us who had the privilege to see him in that Blue shirt and white boots.

Dave Abrahams
5 Posted 28/05/2024 at 21:01:38
Danny (3), Alan’s dad was a character like himself, a mate of mine, a Rednose, met him on holiday somewhere in Spain, and spent many nights in his company, cracking fella, lots of fun my said of him and finished most nights with a rendition of “ I’ll take you home again Kathleen” I think it might have been the name of his wife and Alan’s mother. He was manager of PNE for a time.
Danny O’Neill
6 Posted 28/05/2024 at 21:02:03
I'll have to rely on those of that generation. Urban myth or did he really sit on the ball in front of the Top?!!
Les Callan
7 Posted 28/05/2024 at 21:31:00
I don’t know about in front of the kop Danny, but he certainly did it at Goodison, on more than I occasion.
Barry Rathbone
8 Posted 28/05/2024 at 21:36:13
He transformed English football but was it for the better?

Covering every blade of grass was inspired by his man of the match performance in England's world cup victory over the jerries in 1966.

Midfield dynamos became the mainstay of English clubs thereafter. The problem was runners and athletes could get by charging around like clockwork mice but without the technique and artistry of Ball.

The English game slowly abandoned skill preferring this athletic approach resulting in clubs having to import skill.

It also saw the national team morph from world leaders in to monstrous mountains of donkey shite.

Les Callan
9 Posted 28/05/2024 at 21:43:52
Hang on a mo, Barry. Are you saying Bally had no skill ?
Les Callan
10 Posted 28/05/2024 at 21:44:58
Sorry Barry. Misunderstood you.
Jerome Shields
11 Posted 29/05/2024 at 07:05:08
Thanks, Don for that, brought back a lot of memories.

I remember my Dad saying that a player can be too good for a team on watching Ball play. He was sold to Arsenal just after that.

Gerry Quinn
12 Posted 29/05/2024 at 08:16:19
Still one of my favourite moments at Goodison - when wee Bally sat on the ball...wish I could remember which game it was!
Ted Roberts
13 Posted 29/05/2024 at 08:44:48
Loved Alan Ball to bits.Had pictures of him and the team cut out from the magazines of the time,all over my bedroom wall.Saw him play live for the first time in my first visit to Goodison playing against Chelsea,March 1970,I was 13,and viewing it from the boys pen,we won 5-2 and it was a magical day.i was absolutely gutted when he went to Arsenal and ripped all the pictures of him off the wall and crying like it was a death in the family,which it was to me,but that being said, I did get over it and watched him avidly every time I could on Match of the Day,He was just something else.So sad when he passed,and remember seeing a headline somewhere some years later “ Please God,can we have our Ball back” and that summed him up to me,he was that special.
Dave Abrahams
14 Posted 29/05/2024 at 10:33:16
Yes I remember Alan sitting on the ball at Goodison, Wayne Rooney did it v WBA and got a bollicking off the West Brom centre back after the game for “ taking the piss”.

Best of all was Len Shackleton of Sunderland who did it at Goodison and looked at an imaginary watch on his wrist at the same time, mind you it was a slower game then!!

Tony Abrahams
15 Posted 29/05/2024 at 11:27:42
I'd argue it will have been bad coaching that will have helped transform English football, Barry, and you only have to listen to the words of Alan Ball, when describing his father's thoughts, to realize this.

There's nothing wrong with covering every blade of grass, and I'd argue with anyone who disagreed that this isn't a fantastic attribute, but like Ball explained, his father also wanted him to master the football, and not enough people must have known how to teach this?

Getting your coaching badges means you can become a football coach, but this doesn't necessarily mean that you suddenly understand football in great depth. Football is a very hard game, but I also adhere to the principle of it being a very simple game. Who isn't big on contradiction!!

Thanks for posting that, Don, and god bless Alan Ball.

Stephen Vincent
16 Posted 29/05/2024 at 13:03:25
Who's the greatest of them all?

Little curly Alan Ball.

Barry Rathbone
17 Posted 29/05/2024 at 13:34:28
Tony @15,

Totally agree my point is the impetus for athleticism before technique came from the original midfield dynamo who happened to have both – Alan Ball.

I might add an old pro once said all the skilful players now come from poor countries where coaching as we know it doesn't exist. Look at sports coach central, USA, been at it for decades and haven't produced anything.

Dave Cashen
18 Posted 29/05/2024 at 13:42:33
Bally was not the only all-over-the-pitch midfielder around at the time. He was just the best. It had long been established that you had to fight for the right and although supremely talented; Players like Billy Bremner Colin Bell would be everywhere.

Different coaches have influenced the game throughout the ages. Especially those who won international tournaments. England had some very high quality wingers at the time, but Sir Alf just wasnt interested. His team dubbed "wingless wonders" was certainly innovative at the time. He knew how he wanted the game played and that involved hard graft and a narrow system. The player many people believe to be England's greatest ever finisher couldn't even get a game

Personally, I'm not sure individual players can influence the way the game is played - Although we will forever talk about memorable moments like "Cruyf turn" or that spine tingling 2/3 yards of electricity George Best used to use to put daylight between himself and the defender he has just gone past.

I personally believe it is coaches who changed the game. People like Rinus Michels. Cesar Menotti and Enzot Bearzot - to name a few. They all introduced something new. They all played completely different systems, but Bally would have walked into all of their sides.

Truly world class

Steve Boardman
19 Posted 29/05/2024 at 14:21:53
Danny, Dave and others.

I probably watched every home game he played as my dad and I had season tickets in the Upper Bullens all the years he was with us.

I definitely remember him siting on the ball at least once. From memory, it was against West Ham and directly in front of Bobby Moore, almost inviting him to come and challenge for it. As they were England teammates, I think it was good humoured and don't remember any reaction from the West Ham team.

On reflection,n it is 50+ years ago so I won't argue if other ToffeeWebbers tell me I'm completely wrong!

Danny O’Neill
20 Posted 29/05/2024 at 15:26:35
I agree on your points on coaching, Tony.

I got my badges and always joined in the training sessions with the lads before letting them have free time at the end.

I used the EDIP method I had picked up. Explain, demonstrate, imitate, practice.

But I also stood next to other "coaches" with badges who had never played and couldn't kick a ball. I think they had spent too much time watching Sky or playing Football Manager and deemed themselves experts.

Some players, like Rooney, probably never needed coaching, but most need developing.

Fitness is an important aspect, but ability on the ball, desire and decision-making, finding space are equally important. And hard work off the ball.

It is a simple game that many coaches complicate! "See it, play it" was something I always remember being taught.

Dave, talking of wingers, I played as a young kid in Germany. The coaches pulled me aside and asked why I was running towards the corner flag. They tied a rope around me to guide my positional play!!

I learned a lot playing there. Very different style but great pitches down to village level. We trained and mainly played on clay pitches apart from cup finals when we got to use the main pitch, which was like a bowling green.

Looking back, the clay was good for keeping you on your feet. No sliding tackles!! It was all about ball work. A hell of a culture shock when we moved back to Liverpool and I played on the mud-ridden sloped pitches somewhere in Wavertree. The pitches on Jericho land were decent.

Back to coaching, during the season, when walking the dogs in the nearby park, I often stand and watch the teams training or being coached. Often with dismay and I have to resist stepping in. It would be difficult with two Rhodesian Ridgebacks anyway!!

Christine Foster
21 Posted 29/05/2024 at 21:07:41
Came across this ad from Carlsberg this morning, never seen it before.

Bally if you look is in it, really made me smile...

Bill Gall
22 Posted 29/05/2024 at 21:30:00
I named my son after Alan Ball, pity he never learned to play like him, but moved to Canada in 1976 he was 7 then, and turned out to be a fast skillful young ice hockey player.

He had Ball's temperament, all go, no relaxing, usually smallest player on the ice but never backed down to anyone, no matter what size they were.

Tony Abrahams
23 Posted 29/05/2024 at 22:13:43
Talking of Wayne Rooney, Danny, my feelings are that he might be very similar to Colin Harvey.

Coaching is a lot different to managing, and I'm convinced that Rooney, is a lot more suited to working on the training ground rather than having to do a lot of things that probably don't suit his personality.

Jay Harris
24 Posted 29/05/2024 at 22:49:15
I just wanted to point out that, besides sitting on the ball on the odd occasion, Bally used to regularly trap the ball with his backside.

I don't think I've seen anyone else do it during, before or since then.

Brian Denton
25 Posted 30/05/2024 at 19:11:49
In addition to sitting on the ball, I also remember him pretending to kneel and tie his bootlaces, and when the opposition full-back ran over Bally was up and away. That would have been some time in 1967.

I rather think I had it better as a schoolboy Blue than my present-day counterparts.

Peter Mills
26 Posted 30/05/2024 at 22:46:23
Jay#24, Brian25 - steady on, you are straying into the territory of my Dad telling me about TG Jones dribbling the ball along his own goal line.

Stuff and nonsense to those who didn’t see it, but my Dad swore it was true. And we had the honour of seeing Bally do what you describe. What a player.

Brendan McLaughlin
27 Posted 30/05/2024 at 22:54:50
Jerome #11

The difficulty was that Bally also thought the same as your dad.

Jerome Shields
28 Posted 30/05/2024 at 23:46:16

I think you have hit upon the crux there Brendan.

Eric Myles
29 Posted 31/05/2024 at 17:58:12
You said it Steven #16.

My greatest hero as a lad. And I never ripped up pictures of him when he moved to Arsenal, instead l used to go to Anfield to see him rip up them lot.

The only player I saw anywhere near the class of LCAB was George Best.

Eric Myles
30 Posted 31/05/2024 at 18:14:43
The other memories I have of him are him strolling along the touchline at warm-up heading the ball along the way, and the yellow Ford Anglia he used to drive.
Danny O’Neill
31 Posted 31/05/2024 at 18:22:19
Tony @23, going back to your point.

There is a big difference between coaching and managing.

There is also a big difference in coaching youth teams as apposed to adults in my opinion.

Colin was special because he could cover both.

With reference to Rooney and given his punditry work these days, it would be interesting to see Colin Harvey in the studio. I think he's too humble for that kind of limelight though.

Andy Crooks
32 Posted 03/06/2024 at 19:14:25
He was my favourite player. I'll never forget the day I came home from school and my brother, a gooner, told me he was theirs.

He stole my autograph book, though (I wrote a bit about it on here), and I have never forgiven him.

Jeff Spiers
33 Posted 04/06/2024 at 15:36:50
I remember watching Graeme Souness, when asked, who was the best player he played against. Alan Ball, he said, could'nt get near him!!

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