This year will mark ten years since the passing of footballer extraordinaire Alan Ball, a member of Everton’s Holy Trinity and one of the proponents of the ‘School of Science’ that the Toffees became renowned for.
To commemorate the anniversary, Goodison Park will host a tribute game on October 7th featuring an Alan Ball All-Stars XI taking on a Premier League XI. In addition, there will be a gala dinner held at Liverpool’s Crowne Plaza on Friday 6th October, with guests enjoying a three-course meal, along with entertainment from ex-players and celebrities, plus a chance to re-live Ball’s final after dinner speech.
There will be similar dinners at his other old clubs - Portsmouth (13 October), Arsenal (11 November) and Southampton (17 November). The proceeds from all the events going towards charities in the four cities where Ball had played and is venerated - Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, The Countess Mountbatten Hospice in Southampton, The Oakley Waterman Foundation in Portsmouth and The Willow Foundation north of London in Hertfordshire.
The Alan Ball team will be managed by Everton legends Andy Gray and Peter Reid, assisted by former manager Joe Royle and ex-Toffees striker Kevin Campbell. Harry Redknapp will manage the Premier League team assisted by Lawrie McMenemy and Matt Le Tissier.
Among the players confirmed already to play in the testimonial are Lee Carsley, James Beattie, Peter Crouch, Francis Jeffers and Danny Cadamarteri, while England great Sir Geoff Hurst and fellow Holy Trinity member Colin Harvey will kick off the game.
Ball joined the Blues in August 1966, just days after winning the World Cup with England and embarked on a remarkable run with Everton resulting in the league triumph of 1969-70 and 78 goals in 250 appearances.
Earlier in the year we already saw the release of ‘Ball of Fire’, a play that shows fans the life and times of the great Ball, as it recounts the struggles he underwent on his way to becoming one of Everton’s and England’s most renowned footballers of his generation.