Kevin Ball was asked recently if he ever disliked being branded the hardest man in football, and to no surprise he said he loved it and he was just doing whatever it took to win.
"Nah it's f****** great to be honest with you. Firstly it's a nice compliment, whether it's a hardest player I like to think in terms of being a competitor. Like everybody I hated losing and I would literally do anything and everything to win a game of football. When people say would you kick your granny to win a game of football I'd boot her twice just to make sure.”
CORRECTING THE NARRATIVE
"It sounds terrible but I would. Every time I crossed that white line I wanted to win and in the past when people have come up to me in the past and gone 'It's Kevin Ball, how are you? You weren't the best footballer'. I used to stand there looking at them and I used to think is there any point in me trying to educate you because you're trying to be nice, I didn't want to embarrass them. Then I got to the stage where I thought I'm just going to say it 'what do you mean?' Then all of a sudden they'd just go blank because they're not quite sure what they mean. The point being made, if you play in the Premier League I must be in the top one per cent of the one per cent of footballers to play in the Premier League, get Players of the year in the Premier League, captained teams in the Premier League at the different clubs I've played at.”
STICK TO WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT
"Then I'd list all my attributes as a footballer and you can see the looks on their faces to say 'I've gone wrong here'. But I have always believed being perceived as a very good footballer is making the most of every skill you're given. Now if my skill wasn't going in a one vs one and taking people on, that doesn't mean I'm a bad footballer it just means my skills are doing what I did. Over the course of my career, if a manager or coach appreciates what you're good at, you've got a chance.”
"At Sunderland, in the latter stages of my playing career at the club, Bobby Saxton would always say to us 'do what you do best and do it well'. He knew what I was good at and he'd say to me 'don't get the ball with your back to play'. I'm not being funny, I wasn't very good at that anyhow so I wouldn't do that and if I did I'd probably have a major panic on and boot anything in ten yards accidentally. As time goes on when you went into the middle of the park you did start to change your game so you could do it.”
OUTSIDE OF THE FOOT PASS
"I hit once a ball with the outside of my foot at Luton Town from this side of the pitch over to John Mullen who then went through and scored and it was an unbelievable ball. My son said to me afterwards 'why don't you do that more often?' It did make me think maybe I should. I can kick with both feet not a problem. If someone asked me to do a crossbar challenge, I'll go as long as we can do it with both feet."