The talented left back was born in Liverpool in 1979. During his school years he was part of the Liverpool youth team that also included Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen, he also attended the FA’s England school of excellence academy at Lilleshall with the pair before he signed professional terms with Everton in 1996. It wasn’t long before Michael made his professional debut for the Toffees as a sub against Tottenham Hotspur aged just 17. He would soon become a regular fixture in the Everton first team where he racked up 139 appearances and scored 8 goals during his five year stay at Goodison Park. In his final season on Merseyside he would also catch the eye of England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson who capped him in a international friendly against Spain.
The following season, Bally was heading north of the border to join Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers in a £6.5m deal. After just 11 first team appearances for The Gers, he picked up a serious injury that kept him out of action for over 18 months, he returned to help the team win the Scottish Premier League title and a Scottish League Cup in 04/05 season. During his time at Ibrox he made a total of 76 appearances and scored two goals before he was on the move to PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2005 in a £500k deal.
His one and a half seasons in the Dutch Eredivisie was also hampered due to injuries which restricted him to just 12 appearances for the Red and Whites but during his stay in Holland he won the Eredivisie title and reached the KNVB cup final. In January 2007, Ball returned to the Premier League when he joined Manchester City where he was reunited with former England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson. Whilst at the City of Manchester stadium he made 63 appearances and scored one goal before injury struck again in 2009 which effectively curtailed his career.
90 seconds, 11 Q&A with Michael Ball:-
1) Childhood team growing up? A grand old team, Everton.
2) First pair of football boots owned? A pair of Puma’s that I got off my nan.
3) Did you have a nickname in the dressing room and how did you get it? During my time at Goodison Park I got the nickname ‘The German’ courtesy of big Neville Southall, at other clubs it was simply ‘Bally’.
4) Favourite teammate? That would have to be my Everton and Man City teammate Richard Dunne.
5) Toughest opponent? Playing against Arsenal’s Ray Parlour was always a tough game.
6) Which player do you wish you’d had the chance to play with? That would have to be Leo Messi although I’m not sure I’d enjoy training against him everyday .
7) Favourite football shirt you’ve played in? I never actually played in it but I was always loved the white Umbro Everton shirt from the mid 90’s. Reminds me of my childhood.
8) Best stadium for atmosphere? That would have to be Ibrox, especially on a old Firm derby.
9) Biggest influence on your career? My dad and all my coaches from being 6/7 years old.
10) Most prized possessions from your playing days? Probably my league and cup medals. However, I was extremely proud to get the SPL Player of the Month after being out injured for the best part of two years.
11) What keeps you busy these days? Managing my own sports agency, guiding the next generation to fulfil their dreams.
Michael Ball @bally03
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