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Playing Extra Time Hardcover – 3 Sep 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson; 1st edition (3 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 028307387X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0283073878
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 168,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

Alan Ball always wanted to be the best. Small in stature, red-haired and fiery, Alan was one of the most recognisable players of his generation. Fans on the terraces and team mates immediately took to his whole-hearted enthusiasm and never-say-die attitude. Alan is a fighter - from overcoming his diminutive size to become a professional player and the youngest member of the 1966 England squad, to the rejection he repeatedly faced as a club manager. In 2004 Alan faced the toughest battle of his life. His wife Lesley lost her fight with cancer. From the moment their daughter was diagnosed, to the shocking realisation that Lesley also had the disease; Alan learnt to cope in the face of insurmountable odds. His hugely successsful playing and managerial career that took him to Everton, Arsenal, Manchester City, and two World Cups with England took a back seat to the real test of character brought about by the illness of his loved ones. Now Alan is learning to live life without his beloved Lesley, while continuing to support his daughter whose cancer is in remission. 'I have never stopped fighting but now I am on a different playing field - this has been the biggest fight of my life.' This is an autobiography that transcends football - a story that is both inspirational and deeply moving. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Alan Ball was born on 12th May 1945 in Farnworth, Bolton. He played a total of 743 league games, scoring 170 goals during a career that took him to Blackpool, Everton, Arsenal, Southampton and Bristol Rovers. He won the League Championship in 1969/1970. He played 73 times for England, winning the World cup in 1966. On entering management, Ball had a spell as player/manager at Blackpool, Portsmouth, Stoke City, Southampton and Manchester City.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I got this book as part of a football book box set last Christmas and hadn't got round to reading it but once I started I couldn't out it down. The '66 World Cup happened before I was born but for any England fan I always had great affection for the little man that 'ran himself daft' that day.

This book got right into the detail of both the playing and managerial side of the game and the injustice of how heartless football clubs can operate. Obviously we only have Ball's side of the story but such is the cynicism in the game I'm not entirely surprised to how the game was, and is, being run.

I think what got me was the total lack of respect for someone, one of only 11, who have won football's greatest prize was treated at times. I was shaken to read that a 10 year old boy had spat him while he was manager at Stoke and how he was made to carry the can for the farce that was Manchester City in the late 90s.

On the family side there is the moving tributes to his wife, Lesley, who died of cancer and for his family and friends. I think what particularly hit home for me personally was that her death followed a not dissimilar pattern of my mother's some five years later.

Alan Ball died two years after this book was written and seemed so alive that he must still be around somewhere. I remembering playing for Southampton and always noted his managerial progress because of the England connection so when he died of a heart attack in 2007 I felt I'd lost a relative too. By a quirk of fate his funeral was two years to the day before my mother died.

I may have made this review a bit more personal to me but if you are a football fan then this is a must read. In a way, despite the problems he encounted along the way, he say the golden age of football from the sixties until it began to eat itself with the money men of the Premier League.
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Format: Hardcover
The book not only had an emotional feel to it but i felt it was written in a quite frank and truth telling manner, it lets the reader know exactly what happens in some footballing clubs and lets the suppoters know that they should be venting anger out on the men in suits and not just the manger and players when things are not going well with their clubs, i would recommend this book as a great stocking filler, and a must read for fans of Stoke, Portsmouth, Southampton and Manchester City which will hopefully change some peoples views of this great 66 ledgend.
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Format: Paperback
This is a book of two halves; the first deals with his playing career, the second with his foray into management. The second half is much more entertaining. Ball, who gives me the impression that with his fiery character, he could start a fight in an empty room, has run-ins with various club chairmen at all the clubs he managed. With the typical footballers mantra of everything that goes right is due to him, and everything that goes wrong was down to everyone else, we read about players being brought over his head, coaching staff being shoehorned in without him wanting them, so on and so forth. Funny enough we don't read about how Ball could take a ragbag team and make them a bit better, but couldn't get them any better after that. Hmmm. There is some touching stuff about the family's problems as life develops, and to be fair this is better reading than the standard "the lads are well gutted" kind of 10-a-penny football stories doing the rounds, he is very complimentary to players and some football people throughout the book. The story fairly flies along.
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Format: Hardcover
Mention Alan Ball and most football fans of a certain vintage, myself included, would say, World Cup winner,Blackpool star who became an Everton legend who then went to Arsenal and wore snazzy white boots, tireless little player...and a disasterous manager. A read of this book might just change a few people`s minds. It certainly did mine. As well as the stories involving the great players he played with and against and the games they were involved in, Ball lays it on the line when it comes to the people he doesn`t like. THEY KNOW WHO THEY ARE and now we do. Ball comes across as a devoted father husband and son and the many unfortunate incidents involving his wife and children make for uncomfortable reading in a football book, but that`s just the way the wee man is. He tells it as it is. The game is poorer for his absence.
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Format: Paperback
The front cover declared: "I'm not a believer in luck...but I do believe you need it" and it didn't improve much. Alan Ball was only twenty-one when the highlight of his career occurred - winning the world cup in 1966 with England. There was a sense in that everything after that was an anti-climax and yet he was Britain's most expensive player and did win the League with Arsenal. One thing he did do in the book was dispel my positive image of Harry Catterick.

His Dad clearly has a massive influence on him and drove him on from the earliest age, helping him overcome the potential problem of his lack of height. Similarly his wife was a rock in his life and I felt that as he lost these two people in turn he really began to find himself. The most powerful part of the book is certainly his account of his beloved wife Lesley's unsuccessful fight against cancer. Here you see a glimpse of the real Alan Ball. Another notable story is the fun made of the manager Jock Wallace by a supporter as he was visibly unstable on his feet: "Wallace is pi**ed". He was actually hiding the fact he had developed Parkinson's disease.

All in all I enjoyed the history of the era of football and all the familiar names. However, unlike when he was on the pitch I felt Alan Ball kept a lot back in this book. He was famous for his third person "Alan Ball expects..." speech and maybe it is that observation of his life, as opposed to sharing from within, that limited the impact of this autobiography.
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