Date: 25th April 2007 at 9:45pm
Written by:

AFC Bournemouth manager Kevin Bond has paid tribute to his friend Alan Ball who died this morning.

Ball who was part of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup, went on to manage both Southampton and Portsmouth before working for Radio Solent where he often praised Cherries sides for how they play football.

Bond speaking to the Daily Echo said…

‘…I couldn’t believe it when I heard the news.

‘He always looked so well. I saw him recently and he looked fantastic so it’s hard to take.

‘I always got on well with him. He was a man’s man, he called it as he saw it and I didn’t know anyone who didn’t like Ballie. I will miss him hugely.

‘It was a privilege to have known him as well as I did.’

Bond went onto reveal how Ball started his coaching career…

‘…out of the blue one day he just asked me how would you fancy being my reserve-team coach at Manchester City’? and at that time I wasn’t in football. It was one of the nicest things anyone could ever say.’

When Alan Ball took on the Portsmouth job, again Ball asked Bond to join his team…

‘I was managing Stafford Rangers at the time and he rung me up telling me he’d been asked to get Portsmouth out of trouble and asked if I’d go back with them and be first-team coach.

‘It was great for me and he did an amazing job to keep them up that season because they were in administration and in all sorts of financial difficulty.’

Bond went on to add…

‘It’s devastating for his children. They’ve lost both their parents way before they should have gone.

‘He was a great, great guy and I’ve been close to him for many years. It’s hard to imagine not seeing him around.’

If you would like to leave a message for Alan’s family Vital Southampton are currently receiving messages to pass on to Southampton FC.