Sunderland AFC announce Kevin Ball has left the club after three decades on Wearside

Sunderland AFC have announced that Wearside legend Kevin Ball is leaving the club after three decades of dedicated service.

In a statement, the club said the 57-year-old has "left an indelible mark on the club’s history books and cemented his place amongst the club’s greatest icons of all time."

The club went on to say that the midfielder quickly endeared himself to the Roker Park faithful after arriving in 1990 and "set the modern-day standard for what supporters expect from any player when they adorn the famous red and white stripes."

During his time at Sunderland ‘Bally’ made nearly 400 appearances for the Lads and was named 'Player of the Year' four times, in 1990-91, 1992-93, 1994-95 and 1996-97.

He also scored in the 1998 Play-Off Final penalty shootout and was part of the side that reached the 1992 FA Cup Final.

He also captained the Black Cats to the Championship title in 1995-96 and 1998-99.

Kevin hung his boots up in 2002 after a spell at Burnley and returned to Wearside as first-team coach in 2003 before taking charge of the club’s Under-18s and Under-21s.

At the Academy of Light he played a lead role in the development of England internationals Jordan Henderson and Jordan Pickford, as well as countless others that have played, and continue to play, at the highest level of the game.

Kevin Ball also stepped up as Sunderland caretaker manager on two occasions in 2006 and 2013, where the club say he "echoed the outstanding leadership he perpetually displayed as a player when managing the first team on an interim basis."

Posting on their social media pages, SAFC shared some of Bally's golden moments on the pitch.

Sunderland AFC majority shareholder Kyril Louis-Dreyfus said: “Kevin is a Sunderland AFC legend in the truest sense of the word and he will always be welcome at the Stadium of Light.

"As a player, coach and ambassador, he has embodied the spirit of Sunderland and set an example to all of those around him, including players and staff. We thank him for his immense contribution and wish him well for the future.”

All at SAFC place on record their gratitude to Kevin for his leadership and friendship and we wish him and his family the very best for the future.