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John Ball (footballer, born 1925)

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John "Johnny" Ball (born 13 March 1925) is an English former footballer who played at right back for Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers in the late 1940s and 1950s.

John Ball
Personal information
Date of birth (1925-03-13) 13 March 1925 (age 94)
Place of birth Ince-in-Makerfield, Lancashire, England
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Playing position Right back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
?–1948 Wigan Athletic 18 (0)
Gravesend (guest)
1948–1950 Manchester United 22 (0)
1950–1958 Bolton Wanderers 200 (2)
Teams managed
1960–1963 Wigan Athletic
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Born in Ince-in-Makerfield, Lancashire, Ball began his football career with Wigan Athletic during the Second World War. During the war, since many players were in the armed forces, those who remained with their clubs would often make guest appearances for other clubs to make up the numbers. As well as playing for Wigan, Ball made guest appearances for Gravesend.

In February 1948, Ball was signed by Manchester United for a fee of £2,000.[1] He made his debut two months later, a 2–0 defeat away to Everton on 10 April 1948. In just over two years with United, Ball was never a regular starter in the first team, serving as understudy to Johnny Carey at right back, and he made just 23 appearances in total for the club before being sold to Bolton Wanderers in September 1950.

Ball flourished at Bolton, playing in 200 league games for the Trotters. His Bolton career spanned eight seasons, from 1950 until his retirement from playing in 1958. He played in the 'Matthews Final' in 1953. In 1960, Ball was appointed as manager of his first club, Wigan Athletic. He remained in the position for three years, before retiring from football altogether and set up a painting and decorating business. Later he emigrated to live in Australia.


  1. ^ Hayes, Dean (1996). The Latics: The Official History of Wigan Athletic F.C. Harefield: Yore Publications. p. 78. ISBN 1-874427-91-7.

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