Mervyn pays tribute to Alan Ball

Mervyn Day has added his own voice to the growing list of tributes for England 1966 World Cup winner Alan Ball, who tragically passed away on Tuesday night at the age of just 61.

Our Assistant Manager was a young goalkeeping starlet making his name at Upton Park in the mid-1970s when Ball was already an established performer at Arsenal with his finest hour behind him, and has only fond memories of the man and footballer.

"It is a huge loss to the world of football," says Mervyn. "I remember Alan as a very bubbly, infectious character, on and off the field, and it is extremely tragic that we have lost him at the age of just 61.

"I had seen him a few times in recent years at charity golf days, and he was always his usual effervescent self. He had endured a tough time following the death of his wife only a few years ago, but managed to get on with his life and keep smiling.

"This news is a terrible shame - first and foremost for his family, but also for everyone who knew him and anyone who loved football.

"I played against Alan on several occasions in London derbies between West Ham and Arsenal. I even saved a penalty against him once…although he took another one in the same game and scored as Arsenal went on to win 6-1!

"He was a very competitive midfielder - a style typified by his ginger hair - and although he was renowned for that fiery character, underneath he was a very perceptive passer of the ball who scored and created goals.

"Every member of the 1966 World Cup winning team will live on forever in the memory of all true football fans, and Alan is no exception. He was the man of the match against West Germany that day, at the age of just 21, which says it all."