Saturday, April 28, 2007

Alan Ball MBE, rest in peace.

Alan Ball, pictured in his Saints kit
pic copyright Southern Daily Echo

I was very sad indeed to hear of the death of Alan Ball who died earlier in the week of a heart attack. I first met him over dinner with some mutual friends in Radley's in Southampton late last year and found him, his partner and son charming company. We had a really great night, Alan being full of fun and of course a great sport. He was the perfect gent putting his guests at ease and the eight of us had a great time. I was to meet him again at a social even organised by Bournmouth Football club a couple of months later where he was the guest of honour. I wondered how he would perform and he was a revelation. He spoke for nearly an hour about his life without ever being repetitive or self-indulgent using the event to showcase his own brand of humour. As he talked about his childhood and the run up to the 1966 cup final, I was struck by what a fighter he was; Alan became a professional footballer with a quiet determination that was humbling and deeply motivating. He was also a man who was very generous and in his own modest, unassuming way did a tremendous amount for charity in recent years as well as looking after his friends and family.
He was a great man; a real credit to his sport and his country.
My deepest condolences to his family who I know will be shattered by their loss.


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