Saturday, April 28, 2007
Friday, April 27, 2007
GOLF BUNGLES HIT SNOPPER
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I hesitate to add to the legion of tributes being paid to the sudden and tragic death of Alan Ball. But maybe it will be fitting for an ordinary, average football fan to enter a brief but sincere note of real regret at Alan`s passing.
As a Southampton supporter, of course, I recall Alan playing for us back in the `80s and he had a spell as manager, which proved to be just as telling. It`s no exaggeration to suggest that his `handling` of Matthew Le Tissier, which saw Tiss being given the freedom to play as he wished whilst the rest of the team were instructed to win the ball, give it to Tiss and leave the rest to him, was a huge contribution to the club`s fortunes in that era.
I well recall the day England won the World Cup in 1966 with Alan playing a pivotal role in that success - he was, in truth, the acceptable face of Nobby Styles, with his non-stop running, energy and tireless determination.
But Alan`s unique place in the fortunes of south coast football is assured - player for Saints, manager too...but also manager of our arch-rivals and near-neighbours Portsmouth. Now, a certain Harry Redknapp has also managed both clubs, but he will not be remembered by Saints fans with the same affection that we have for Bally - a genuine, honest, caring football man.
Alan had more than his share of tragedy, losing his wife to cancer three years ago and his daughter suffering from the same problem, although happily now recovered. Alan did not deserve to leave us at such an early age - just 61 - and so, whilst I mourn his passing and thank him for the pleasure he brought, this event has reminded me once again that fame and fortune are no guarantors of a long and happy life and that sometimes life just ain`t fair.