Sunderland AFC today announced the departure of club legend Kevin Ball.
Over the past three decades, the 57-year-old has left an indelible mark on the club’s history books and cemented his place amongst the club’s greatest icons of all time.
Arriving on Wearside in 1990, the midfielder immediately endeared himself to the Roker Park faithful and set the modern-day standard for what supporters expect from any player when they adorn the famous red and white stripes.
A four-time Player of the Year in 1990-91, 1992-93, 1994-95 and 1996-97, and a scorer in the 1998 Play-Off Final penalty shootout, Kevin was part of the side that reached the 1992 FA Cup Final before captaining SAFC to the Championship title in 1995-96 and 1998-99.
‘Bally’, as he’s affectionately known by all associated with the club, made nearly 400 appearances for the Lads in total and after spells with Fulham and Burnley, he returned to Wearside as first-team coach in 2003 before later taking charge of the club’s Under-18s and Under-21s.
At the Academy of Light he played a lead role in the development of England internationals Jordan Henderson and Jordan Pickford, as well as countless others that have played, and continue to play, at the highest levels of the game.
A caretaker manager on two occasions, Kevin has always stepped up when the club needed it most and he echoed the outstanding leadership he perpetually displayed as a player when managing the first team on an interim basis in 2006 and 2013.
Over the past decade, he has continued to play a part in the progression of young players as a Technical Coach, whilst representing SAFC with unwavering class as an International Development Executive and Club Ambassador.
Kyril Louis-Dreyfus said: “Kevin is a Sunderland AFC legend in the truest sense of the word and he will always be welcome at the Stadium of Light. As a player, coach and ambassador, he has embodied the spirit of Sunderland and set an example to all of those around him, including players and staff. We thank him for his immense contribution and wish him well for the future.”
All at SAFC place on record their gratitude to Kevin for his leadership and friendship and we wish him and his family the very best for the future.