Alan James Ball was born May 12, 1945, in Farnworth, England. He signed his first professional contract at age 17, however, and during his 21-year playing career (1962–1983), he appeared in more than 800 games and scored almost 200 goals (including 8 for England). He also managed several teams between 1980 and 1999. Ball was appointed MBE in 2000.
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