World Cup hero play on the Ball

1966 World Cup winner Alan Ball
1966 World Cup winner Alan Ball
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A new play about Blackpool and England football legend Alan Ball is to have one of its first performances in Lytham.

Ball of Fire, produced with the full support of Alan’s family, charts his personal story alongside his sensational open-book football career.

The World Cup winner, who died in 2007, at the age of 61, left Bloomfield Road for Everton soon after England’s historic 4-2 success against West Germany.

He went on to become a Goodison Park legend as part of the ‘Holy Trinity’ with Colin Harvey and Howard Kendall before going on to play for Arsenal and Southampton and briefly managing Blackpool.

The play by the Blue Park Theatre company, which comes to Lytham on September 8, has been written by Kenny O’Connell with a poetic narration by Bobby Parry. Margaret Connell directs and along with actor Michael Cullen, it features ex-Everton winger Ronny Goodlass in the role of narrator.

Ball Of Fire is at the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool city centre on July 29 after being previewed at the city’s Lantern Theatre earlier this month.

Lowther general manager Roger McCann said: “I am delighted that we are able to bring Ball of Fire to Lytham.

“I’m of an age that remembers the 1966 World Cup, so Alan Ball was an early hero. What I don’t think I knew was that he was a Blackpool player at the time; I’ve always associated him with Everton and Southampton.

“We both arrived in Southampton at about the same time – me to run the theatre and him to get the Saints back into the First Division!

“When I heard about Ball of Fire I was really keen to get it here.

“Theatre has the power to speak to people in different ways and a play about a footballing hero reaches out to a completely different group.

“I think this play will appeal to both regular theatregoers and football fans, especially Everton fans because another ex-Everton star, Ronny Goodlass, plays the narrator in the show.

“It will also be the first show in the theatre with our new seating and are very much looking forward to that.”

Ball played 146 league games for Blackpool in two different periods with the club – 1962-66 and 1980-81, as player manager.

Tickets for Ball of Fire are adults £14, seniors £12 and children £12 and are available at boxoffice@lowtherpavilion.co.uk