Michael Ball (footballer)
Ball warming-up for Leicester City in 2011
|Full name||Michael John Ball|
|Date of birth||2 October 1979|
|Place of birth||Crosby, England|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Ball started his professional career at Everton, making his debut as a 17-year-old in 1997, and then played abroad for Scottish side Rangers and Dutch side PSV Eindhoven. He returned to England in 2007 with Manchester City, where he spent two seasons. After two years as a free agent, he resumed his career at Leicester City in July 2011, being sacked the following January.
In 2001, he was capped by the England national team for the first and only time.
Ball was born in Crosby, Merseyside. As a schoolboy he was part of the Liverpool youth system, playing alongside Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard. From 1994–1996 he attended the FA's National School at Lilleshall, before joining Everton. He played his first senior match in April 1997 as a substitute against Tottenham, and made his first start a week later at West Ham. Ball developed into an impressive player equally adept at both centre back and his main position, left back. His solid performances for Everton led to an England National Football Team call-up to Sven-Göran Eriksson's first England squad for a friendly against Spain in February 2001. Ball was named as a substitute, and made his debut when he replaced Chris Powell at half-time.
In 2001 he was allowed to leave Everton, primarily due to the club's financial problems. Although he had offers from the Premiership, he opted for a lucrative deal with Scottish Premier League club Rangers and moved to Glasgow in a £6.5m deal. His first Old Firm match ended in controversy when he swore at Rangers manager Dick Advocaat after being substituted, resulting in a £10,000 fine. He scored his first Rangers goal in the UEFA Cup against Dinamo Moscow. In December 2001, after his eleventh Rangers appearance, he suffered medial ligament damage which kept him side-lined for 18 months, including the entire 2002–03 season. Upon his return to fitness he regained his place in the team, becoming a first team regular in the 2003–04 season, scoring his first league goal against Dundee. He also won the player of the month award in his first month back.
Ball's transfer to Rangers included instalments payable after fixed numbers of appearances. As Ball approached 60 appearances Rangers became reluctant to play him, as doing so would trigger a £500,000 payment to Everton. As a result, Ball played only four matches in the first four months of the 2004–05 season. The scenario was eventually resolved in December 2004 when negotiations involving the player and the two clubs reached an undisclosed agreement. With the contractual wrangling resolved, Ball returned to the first team, and won a Scottish League Cup medal and an SPL league winners medal as Rangers won the 2004–05 title.
PSV Eindhoven (2005–2007)
In the 2005 close season, Rangers wished to remove the higher earners from their wage bill, so Ball moved to Dutch side PSV Eindhoven under Guus Hiddink for a fee of £500,000, signing a two-year contract. Ball struggled with injury and fitness issues during his time in the Netherlands. However, he went on to win the Dutch title and also reached the final of the Dutch Cup, losing 1–0 to Ajax in Rotterdam.
Manchester City (2007–2009)
He joined Manchester City on 31 January 2007 after impressing on a week-long trial, on a six-month contract for a nominal fee. He made his debut ten days later against Portsmouth, and scored his first goal for the club in an FA Cup Fifth Round match against Preston North End on 18 February. He was often used as third choice captain, when either Richard Dunne (captain) or Micah Richards (vice captain) was unavailable. On 5 May 2007, in a 1–0 home defeat to Manchester United, he stamped on Cristiano Ronaldo's stomach. This was missed by the referee, and he was subsequently banned for three matches. On 24 August 2008, Ball was given the captain's armband in the 46th minute after stand in captain Richards was knocked out in a challenge with a team mate and substituted during a game against West Ham United. City went on to score three goals and win the game 3–0.
At the end of January 2009 Ball had a knee operation on his left patella tendon, which kept him out of action for nine months.
On 1 July 2009, he was released by Manchester City as his contract expired.
In January 2010, Ball was reported to be training with Wigan Athletic and to be regaining match fitness. However, no contract was reported as having been offered. Subsequently in September 2010 Ball was reported as training with Blackpool, but again no contract resulted.
Leicester City (2011–2012)
Ball was on trial with Leicester City in July 2011, travelling on their pre-season tour of Sweden and Austria. He signed a one-year contract on 8 August 2011, after featuring in six pre-season friendlies. Ball made his competitive debut in a 4–1 win over Rotherham in the League Cup first round on 9 August 2011. Ball made only three appearances in total for the Foxes, all in the League Cup and all away.
£6,000 fine and sack
On 23 January 2012, Ball was fined £6,000 by the Football Association for homophobic comments made on Twitter about the actor Antony Cotton. The next day, Leicester City sacked him and has since not been appointed to any club.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Scotland||League||Scottish Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Netherlands||League||KNVB Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2006–07||Manchester City||Premier League||12||0||2||1||14||1|
- PSV Eindhoven
- Hugman, Barry J. (ed) (2008). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2008–09. Mainstream. ISBN 978-1-84596-324-8.
- "I won't be a one-cap wonder". The FA. 16 April 2003. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
- Barclay, Patrick (9 April 2006). "Having a Ball in Holland". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
- "Michael Ball". ToffeeWeb. Retrieved 2 April 2007.
- "Sven's England off to winning start". BBC. 28 February 2001. Retrieved 2 April 2007.
- "Ball & pain; Michael Grant speaks to the forgotten Rangers defender". Sunday Herald. 13 October 2002. Retrieved 2 April 2007.
- "Shine taken off Gers win". BBC. 18 October 2001. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
- "Dundee 0–2 Rangers". BBC. 28 December 2003. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
- "Ball remains in Ibrox limbo". BBC. 7 October 2004. Retrieved 2 April 2007.
- "Ball gets all-clear to stay at Rangers". The Scotsman. 31 December 2004. Retrieved 2 April 2007.
- Mercer, Nathan (18 February 2007). "Preston 1–3 Man City". BBC. Retrieved 3 November 2009.
- "Man City allow quartet to leave". BBC Sport. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2009.
- "Wigan lifeline for lifelong Evertonian Michael Ball". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
- "Blackpool looking to sign free agents Michael Ball and Marlon Harewood". Retrieved 1 November 2010.
- "Ball agrees City deal". Leicester City F.C. 8 August 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
- "Leicester City confirm one-year deal for Michael Ball". BBC Sport. 9 August 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
- "Rotherham 1 – 4 Leicester". BBC Sport. 9 August 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
- "Michael Ball fined for homophobic Twitter comment". BBC Sport. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- "Michael Ball fined for homophobic tweet to Coronation Street actor". The Guardian. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/leicester-city/9035307/Leicester-City-sack-Michael-Ball-after-defender-is-fined-6000-for-homophobic-tweet-by-Football-Association.html Leicester City sack Michael Ball after defender is fined £6,000 for homophobic tweet by the FA
- Ogden, Mark (17 February 2007). "Ball game for City's testing trip to Preston". telegraph.co.uk (London). Retrieved 26 January 2012.
- "2001 Matches: Europe (January – June)". rsssf.com. Retrieved 26 January 2012.