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7. OBITUARY: English World Cup star Alan Ball
April 25th, 2007 3:21AM

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Alan Ball, the youngest member of England's 1966 World Cup championship, has died of a heart attack at the age of 61.

Ball, whose father of the same name was a soccer player and manager, starred for Everton, Arsenal and Southampton and won 72 caps for England. He was an all-NASL pick for the Philadelphia Fury in 1978 and the champion Vancouver Whitecaps in 1979. He later became a manager, working at Manchester City, Portsmouth, Southampton, Blackpool, Stoke and Exeter.

Ball also played on England's 1970 World Cup team, and he was at the center of controversy concerning England's shocking failure to qualify for the 1974 World Cup finals. He was sent off in the away game against Poland, which mean he missed the return game at Wembley, where the Poles earned a 1-1 tie and edged England for a place at Germany '74.

In 2004, Ball released his well-received autobiography, "Playing Extra Time," detailing his family's misfortunes. His father died in a car crash in 1982. His wife, Leslie, died of ovarian cancer in 2004, and he supported his daughter, who was also diagnosed with cancer.



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