Former Portsmouth favourite Kevin Ball departs Sunderland after three decades of loyal service

Sunderland have announced the departure of club legend and former Pompey favourite Kevin Ball.

By Mark McMahon
Thursday, 17th February 2022, 10:56 am

In a statement announced by the Black Cats on Thursday morning, chairman 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.’

During his role at the Academy of Light as technical coach, Ball is credited for his part in the development of established England internationals Jordan Henderson and Jordan Pickford.

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Meanwhile, in more recent years, the former Coventry apprentice acted as an International Development Executive and Club Ambassador.

His departure from the Wearsiders, after three decades of service, will no doubt sadden Sunderland fans who hold the 57-year-old in the highest esteem.

Following his £300,000 transfers from Pompey in 1990, he made in excess of 350 appearances for the club, which reaped two Division One titles, four player-of-the-year awards, two spells as caretaker boss and a testimonial against Sampdoria.

Former Pompey favourite Kevin Ball has ended his three-decade association with Sunderland. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Despite his allegiances with the Black Cats, the former midfielder/defender still maintained an affection for the Blues.

Released as an apprentice at Coventry, he was taken on by the Blues’ youth set-up in 1982.

By the time he departed in the summer of 1990, Ball had amassed 129 appearances and scored four times, even captaining on occasions.

Kevin Ball made 192 appearances for Pompey.

Roker Park was his destination, a £300,000 bid accepted by Blues boss Frank Burrows, and so began a lifetime bond.