Obituary: Alan Ball
Although this column is about Birmingham City, it's impossible to ignore today's sad news in the football world.
Most people of a 'certain age' will have their own memories of Alan Ball, probably crowned by his achievement of being a World Cup winner.
As the youngest member of the England squad, he was only 21 on that June day when we held the Jules Rimet trophy for the one and only time.
Alan Ball started his professional career at Blackpool. The son of a player and manager, he made his league debut at the age of 17.
By 1965 he had won his first cap for England and was still a Blackpool until August 1966 when he joined Everton for a then record fee.
He also played for Arsenal and Southampton and like many players, moved on to management, but never found the success he had as a player.
He was a tireless midfielder, covering miles in every game and despite his diminuitive size was utterly fearless.
His passion for the game and his zest for life shone through, even in recent years when he had suffered considerable personal tragedy.
It's shocking that his life has been cut short at a comparatively young age, and Vital Birmingham would like to pass on their condolences to his family and friends.
RIP Alan Ball - Heaven's Eleven just acquired a new player.
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