Playing Extra Time Hardcover – 3 Sep 2004
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a character as a player and manager
They dont make them like Alan Ball these days and the book tells of a rich life in football
and sadness in finding his... Read more
Have been reliving the golden era of English football by reading what our World Cup winners have to say of the times.Published on 25 Jun. 2013 by Noddie
I purchased this book because Alan Ball was my daughters father in law and they now live in Seattle USA where Jimmy is a football coach. Read morePublished on 4 Oct. 2011 by Trevor Piper
I had an agenda when reading this book - what were his excuses for the ineptitude displayed when he was in charge of Manchester City FC. In short - he blames everyone but himself. Read morePublished on 30 July 2009 by sb
This book is a really good read but sadly this paperback version doesnt contain any photographs !!!!Published on 13 Sept. 2008 by S. Gibbon
.. this book is good for any footballing fan who wants to know the truth about what goes on behind the scenes - and in a footballers mind. Read morePublished on 31 Oct. 2007 by Christopher Wickenden
One of the better sporting biographies.
Written is the same style he played, honest, intense and challenging.