Keith Ball

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Keith Ball
Personal information
Full name Keith Ball[1]
Date of birth (1940-10-26) 26 October 1940 (age 76)[1]
Place of birth Walsall, England[1]
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1958–1962 Walsall 11 (0)
1962–1966 Worcester City
1966–1968 Walsall 34 (0)
1968–1972 Port Vale 130 (0)
1972 Stourport
1972–1973 Walsall 2 (0)
Darlaston
Nuneaton Borough
Kidderminster Harriers
Total 177+ (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Keith Ball (born 26 October 1940) is an English former footballer. He was a short but agile goalkeeper who made 145 league and cup appearances for Port Vale and enjoyed three spells with Walsall. He also played non-league football for Worcester City, Stourport, Darlaston, Nuneaton Borough, and Kidderminster Harriers. He was a squad player as Walsall won back-to-back promotions in 1959–60 and 1960–61, and was an ever-present for Port Vale as they won promotion out of the Fourth Division in 1968–69.

Playing career[edit]

Ball began his career at hometown club Walsall, as the "Saddlers" posted a sixth-place finish in the Fourth Division in 1958–59. Bill Moore's side then went on to win the divisional title in 1959–60, before winning a second successive promotion with a second-place finish in the Third Division in 1960–61. The Fellows Park outfit then settled in the Second Division with a 14th-place finish in 1961–62. Having only featured in 11 league games, Ball was allowed to join Southern League side Worcester City. City finished one point above the relegation zone in the 1962–63 campaign, before rising to 13th place in 1963–64 and then third place in 1964–65, before dropping to eighth position in 1965–66. Ball returned to Walsall, now managed by Ray Shaw, to play 34 Third Division games in the 1966–67 and 1967–68 campaigns.

He was bought by Gordon Lee's Port Vale in November 1968 for 'a small fee', to replace the injured Stuart Sharratt.[1] He was immediately the first choice keeper for the "Valiants" after being preferred ahead of Milija Aleksic.[1] Ball played 38 matches in the 1968–69 season and played all 52 matches in the 1969–70 Fourth Division promotion winning campaign.[1] He made 30 appearances in the 1970–71 season and 35 appearances in the 1971–72 season, as Sharrat battled to win back his first team place.[1] Ball was given a free transfer in May 1972, as experienced Bolton Wanderers stopper Alan Boswell was signed to take over goalkeeping duties at Vale Park.[1] He moved on to Stourport before making another return to Walsall. He played two Third Division games under the stewardship of John Smith in the 1972–73 season, before moving into non-league football with Darlaston, Nuneaton Borough and Kidderminster Harriers.

Statistics[edit]

  • Sourced from Keith Ball profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
Club Season Division League FA Cup Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Walsall 1958–59 Second Division 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
1959–60 Fourth Division 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
1960–61 Third Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1961–62 Second Division 5 0 0 0 1 0 6 0
Total 11 0 0 0 1 0 12 0
Walsall 1966–67 Third Division 15 0 0 0 0 0 15 0
1967–68 Third Division 19 0 0 0 2 0 21 0
Total 34 0 0 0 2 0 36 0
Port Vale 1968–69 Fourth Division 25 0 3 0 0 0 28 0
1969–70 Fourth Division 46 0 5 0 1 0 52 0
1970–71 Third Division 28 0 1 0 1 0 30 0
1971–72 Third Division 31 0 3 0 1 0 35 0
Total 130 0 12 0 3 0 145 0
Walsall 1980–81 Third Division 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0

Honours[edit]

with Walsall
with Port Vale

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 15. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0. 
  2. ^ Kent, Jeff (1990). "Surviving on a Shoestring (1969–1979)". The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 227–257. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7.