Sunderland AFC news: Kyril Louis-Dreyfus urged to bring back former captain

Former Sunderland player Simon Ramsden has urged Kyril Louis-Dreyfus to find a role for ex-captain Kevin Ball at the club.
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Sunderland announced the departure of the club legend in February last year after a long connection with the Wearsiders.

The 58-year-old is revered on Wearside not just for his playing exploits as captain and four-time player-of-the-year in the heart of midfield, but for his association with the club that has run for over three decades.

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Ramsden, who made one appearance for Sunderland (his boyhood club) back in 2004 in an FA Cup game against Ipswich Town before moving on to Bradford City and Motherwell, revealed his surprise that Ball was no longer involved at the club.

Kevin Ball photographed by Ross Johnston of RJX MediaKevin Ball photographed by Ross Johnston of RJX Media
Kevin Ball photographed by Ross Johnston of RJX Media

Speaking to The Echo, the 41-year-old called for Ball’s return to Sunderland, adding that the former Portsmouth, Fulham and Burnley player still has a lot to offer.

"I think it is such a shame that he’s not part of the club anymore,” Ramsden exclusively told The Echo. “As a player, as a man and a leader, he epitomises everything that you and me as Sunderland fans want in a Sunderland player.

"To have him behind the scenes, I don’t care if it is the under-8s or the 16s or the reserves, whatever, in some sort of capacity teaching people with the experience he has had throughout his career, would be so beneficial.

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"Obviously, there are things that might have gone on in the past and what have you but life is too short. For me, if I was part of the club now, I’d be looking to get him back in any capacity as he epitomises everything you want in the club.”

Former Sunderland player Simon Ramsden. Photo by Ross Johnston of RJX MediaFormer Sunderland player Simon Ramsden. Photo by Ross Johnston of RJX Media
Former Sunderland player Simon Ramsden. Photo by Ross Johnston of RJX Media

Ramsden added: “Bally would bring grounding and respect for the younger lads who maybe get away with a bit too much nowadays. They wouldn’t with Bally. He is an inspiration and he still rings me now!

“If you need him, he’s always at the other end of the phone and the amount of players or ex-players that I speak to he is also like that with all of them and this is 20 or 30 years on. To have that around the club and the young lads would be brilliant and hopefully, things change and he is brought back in.”

Ball twice led the club to promotion to the Premier League and after retiring from playing would go on to play an integral role in the club’s academy, overseeing the development of players such as Jordan Henderson and Jordan Pickford.

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He played in the 1992 FA Cup final and helped Sunderland win promotion to the Premier League in 1996 and 1999 after joining the club from Portsmouth in a £350,000 deal in the summer of 1990

Ball was named Sunderland's player of the year on four occasions (1990-91, 1992-93, 1994-95 and 1996-97) and made almost 400 appearances for the club.

You can listen to ex-Sunderland player Simon Ramsden’s full interview with The Echo on The Roar Podcast. Available on YouTube, Apple, Spotify, Amazon and all podcast platforms. Just search “The Roar – Sunderland Echo”. This edition of The Roar Podcast will be streamed LIVE on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter at 6pm Thursday, 16 February.